Columbus City Council shows support for immigrants living in sanctuary

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Monday, council passed a resolution to show support for Edith Espinal and Miriam Vargas, two women who live in sanctuary as they wait to become legal residents in the US

The resolution is not legally binding, but an on-the-record show of support by the city.

“It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken,” said council member Elizabeth Brown. “Unfortunately Miriam and Edith are at its mercy.”

That was part of a speech delivered to the family and supporters of both women who were unable to come because of fear of being detained.

“We support our residents, and we support keeping families together,” said President Shannon Hardin.

It was a message Vargas was happy to hear.

“I’m grateful for them passing this resolution om support of me as a person who lives in Columbus,” said Vargas.

NBC4 spoke to Vargas who used a translator during our interview.

She’s been living in sanctuary at the First English Lutheran Church for nearly eight months and she described how difficult it’s been for her and her two little girls.

“It’s not easy being here,” said Vargas. “I get very tired. It’s emotionally draining. The most difficult thing is my daughters tell me they want to go home. It’s difficult because I have two girls one of them is age 9 and the other is five and when they ask me, they may understand at that moment but the very next day they ask me again, and so it’s not something they understand.”

Miriam also said she feels her family is safe here in Columbus.

She told NBC4 that she feels encouraged to hear that another local woman known as “Angelica” was able to leave sanctuary with her legal rights. She hopes it can happen for her too.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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