Some of the Columbus community have hopes to start a "sanctuary movement"


COLUMBUS -- A woman living in sanctuary at a Columbus church is fighting to stay with her family.

Edith Espinal is an undocumented immigrant, facing deportation.

She and others just like her across the country shared their stories with the community, hoping to start a "sanctuary movement."

What happened at Columbus Mennonite Church Tuesday night could be the first step.

"It's not easy, it's hard because we're up against something that's not for us that wants us out," Ruben Herrera said.

Telling their stories through translators, six undocumented immigrants from four different states explained how they found sanctuary.

Edith Espinal, in Columbus, is one of them.

"The I.C.E. and the government, they protect their family and now, that's what I am doing now. To try to protect my family, my kids," Espinal said.

Wearing an ankle monitor, Espinal has been living in the Clintonville church since October, fighting to stay in America.

"Right now sanctuary is the only 24/7 resistance to the system that's happening on any issue in the country," Herrera said.

From Texas to North Carolina to Pennsylvania, video chat brought people into the same Ohio church.

"And so what we're trying to do is not make these just isolated stories but to make it a big, to tell this bigger story about what's happening and to build public support," Pastor Joel Miller said.

The support inside Columbus Mennonite Church was easy to see.

A crowd of more than 50 filled the pews.

Organizers of Tuesday's conversation hoped events like it will help create change.

"My message is, we need to fight," Espinal said.

Espinal's husband will travel to Cleveland on Wednesday morning to go to immigration court, for his first appearance.

Filed under: