Columbus mother living in sanctuary at church fined nearly $500,000 for evading deportation

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Edith Espinal, who has sought sanctuary in a Columbus church since October 2017, has been fined nearly $500,000 as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, according to her lawyer.

Lizbeth Mateo shared the news about her client on her Twitter account on Tuesday.

Espinal has been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church for sanctuary so she will not be deported.

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Espinal is a mother of three who has sought safety in the church.

Mateo posted that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement sent Espinal a notice saying they intend to fine her $497,777.

According to what an ICE spokesperson told the Columbus Dispatch, the act allows the agency to fine “aliens who have been ordered removed or granted voluntary departure and fail to depart the United States.”

“How we respond, how Ohio responds will be telling of who we really are as a community, as a country! This is an assault, an intimidation tactic against not only Edith and others like her, but against her support system, the churches that house people like Edith!”, Mateo tweeted.

When she spoke to 10TV in October 2018, she said most of we days are spent walking and talking to church members while learning English.

Espinal said in October she knows there are people out there that do not have any sympathy for her. She knows some believe if she is undocumented she needs to follow the rules and the rules say to deport her.

"They need to understand we are humans," Espinal said.

According to the notice Mateo posted online, Espinal has 30 days to pay the fine or provide evidence why the fine should not be imposed.

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