Columbus mother defies deportation order hoping to stay with family

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For the past week, a one bedroom apartment inside the Columbus Mennonite Church in Clintonville, is where Edith Espinal spends her days.

A place, she's told, where immigration agents are unlikely to arrest her because it's a place of worship.

"I'm unclear what's going to happen at this point, " she said.

At this point, Espinal is breaking the law. And it's taking an emotional toll on her children.

"Each time I leave for school I pray and hope nothing bad happens to her," her daughter Stephanie said.

Her son, Brandow, is also undocumented.

"No one wants to see their mother cry. I've seen her cry more these past few days than I've seen her my 19 years of life," he said.

Espinal says to those who say she has no right to live in the country, they don't understand her story.

"The government let us in an asylum case and so we tried under that and we followed the rules and we want to stay here," she said.

But there may be a legal way she can stay. Under Immigration law, her 21-year-old son, who is a US citizen, can sponsor her.

The family says it just learned about it when they hired a new attorney. The family claims their first immigration attorney never mentioned it.

As for Espinal, she says her message to the government is this.

"I really just want to keep my family together," she said.

Mayor Andrew Ginther said in January that Columbus “will not arrest, detain or investigate anyone for immigration violations unless a warrant or criminal violation was observed.” That policy does not qualify the city to be a sanctuary city.

Columbus Police nor the county sheriff's office apprehend people based solely on their immigration status.

Governor John Kasich weighed in on the immigration issue earlier this month.

“I want them to come to Ohio. Send them here. We want them. Our population is not growing. If I were living in Mexico in an area where the drug cartels could harm my family, where do you think I would go? I would come here.” Kasich said. “I think immigrants bring a real vitality to our country.”

Kasich would permit undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. and pay a fine. He dismissed President Donald Trump’s suggestion to deport DACA protected children as “craziness,” calling them “contributors.”