Vigil commemorates one year in sanctuary at Columbus church for Edith Espinal

Local News

The Columbus woman at the center of the battle for immigration reform says her days are long and at night she fights worsening loneliness. 

Edith Espinal’s called The Columbus Mennonite Church home after seeking sanctuary to avoid deportation to Mexico in September 2017.

At a prayer vigil to make 1-year of living in the church, Edith Espinal walks on stage with her daughter and a smile.

A night and day difference 1-on-1 when asked what it’s like to be confined by the walls of the church day and night. 

“Nobody knows my days in here. Nobody knows how I spend my days in here. How I feel like here. Maybe they don’t care,” said Espinal.

The contrast is similar when Pastor Joel Miller tells media at a pre-vigil news conference that on one hand during Espinal’s year of sanctuary he sensed an expansion of goodwill for immigrants.

“The other theme has been just the opposite. A narrowing of possibility for Edith and people of similar circumstances,” said Miller.

For Espinal, circumstances outside the church fuel her center stage fight for immigration reform especially those involving her children.

“My son Brando in June he [needed] to go to Emergency Room in the hospital and 2 weeks ago he had a car accident. Too many things happen to my family. And also my daughter she’s very depressed about everything,” said Espinal.

For Edith Espinal it is a new normal, as she pushes through sadness with optimism while living in this altered state of freedom in captivity. 

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