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After 31 Months in Sanctuary, Columbus Mother Miriam Vargas is Free to Return Home to Her Family


February 23, 2021


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123

Dan Clark, dclark@faithinpubliclife.org, (614) 648-3663

Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, (540) 280-3393

After 31 Months in Sanctuary, Columbus Mother Miriam Vargas is Free to Return Home to Her Family

Columbus, OH On Tuesday, February 23rd, Miriam Vargas, accompanied by her attorney, Jessica Bell, and twenty supporters, met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at their field office in Westerville, OH. Miriam Vargas is now under an order of supervision and is no longer a priority for deportation. She will leave sanctuary at First English Lutheran Church, where she has lived since July 2018 to avoid deportation, and return to life at home with her family on Columbus’ Southwest Side. 

Similar to fellow sanctuary leader Edith Espinal, Miriam Vargas and her attorney, Jessica Bell, negotiated an order of supervision. While unfortunately Miriam’s order of deportation still remains, this order of supervision will allow her to safely live at home with her family while making periodic telephone check-ins with ICE. This also means she may apply for a work visa.

While there is much more work to be done as Miriam seeks a path to citizenship, this news is cause for joy and celebration!

When asked today what she wanted to do first outside of the church, Miriam answered, “To go to the park with my girls.”

Miriam Vargas

“I am so thankful. For me, this is a return to life.”

Rev. Sally Padgett, First English Lutheran Church

“This is everything we’ve been praying for for almost three years now. This is a dream come true. I keep thinking about her daughters. We are so excited that Miriam Vargas is going to be able to live her life and be a mom. It’s a sense of freedom, a sense of relief.”

Jessica Bell, Rodriguez Bell & DiFranco Law Office, LLC

“Miriam has now been placed under an order of supervision. She is now eligible to apply for her work permit and move forward with her life. For the foreseeable future, as long as the Biden administration remains with the same policies, she will be able to remain under this order of supervision for several years.” 


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