COLUMBUS (WCMH) — To avoid deportation, Edith Espinal has been living inside Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2, 2017.
Tuesday, supporters delivered a request for a “Stay of Removal” on Espinal’s behalf to the Columbus office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Activist and supporter Mohammad Abdollahi said previous attempts to deliver the request for a stay were rejected by ICE on the grounds that Espinal needed to be present.
He said getting them to accept the request today was a “huge deal.”
“We’ve had two, three members of Congress in the last two weeks telling us they couldn’t get the stay of removal filed – absolutely significant,” Abdollahi said.
Espinal’s daughter Stephanie Gonzalez was part of the small group allowed in the ICE office to deliver the request.
“At first, they said they weren’t going to accept it at all,” Gonzalez said. “They kept on making excuses like she doesn’t qualify for it.”
Afterward, Gonzalez tearfully thanked a group of about 30 supporters.
“It really means a lot to me and I know for sure it’s going to mean a lot to my mom and I want to thank every single one of you for support,” she said.
After hearing about Tuesday’s developments, Espinal told NBC 4 she is now hoping for a miracle.
“They denied everything we asked in the past, but now we have hope,” Espinal said.
Abdollahi, who has been friends with Espinal since 2013, was encouraged by Tuesday’s events.
“I think this is going to give Edith a lot of hope, a lot of joy,” Abdollahi said. “It’s going to reaffirm her understanding that people in power can move. They might not always feel like doing it, but as the little people, we have to keep on reminding them why it’s important.”