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Faith and Community Leaders Demand Action from Sen. Brown on Behalf of Edith Espinal & Miriam Vargas


January 29, 2020​


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123
Dan Clark, dclark@faithinpubliclife.org, (614) 648-3663

Faith and Community Leaders Demand Action from Sen. Brown on Behalf of Edith Espinal & Miriam Vargas

Columbus, OH — On Wednesday, January 29th, faith and community leaders gathered in front of Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Columbus office to demand that he act on behalf of sanctuary leader Edith Espinal, an immigrant mother of three who has been in sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church for more than a year to avoid deportation. 

To watch the full video of the event, click here. For photos, click here.

Edith Espinal, Immigrant mom living in sanctuary (submitted via translator):

“This morning, we are once again asking Senator Brown to come and visit me at Columbus Mennonite Church. There is no law that exists to stop me from fighting to remain united with my family. I urge Senator Brown to respond to my visit request. Now is the moment for all Ohioan politicians to do everything in their power to make sure I can return to my house in Ohio with my family. I will wait for a response for Senator Brown. Thank you to everyone in this community for their support. God bless.” 

Pastor Joel Miller, Columbus Mennonite Church: 

“My faith teaches me that God’s love knows no borders, families are sacred, and we are all a part of the same human family sharing this one earth. To recap where we are at with Edith: In December she received a letter from ICE with an order to report for deportation. If she did not report, the letter said, this could be grounds for a daily fine, and she could also face criminal charges. It is a cruel logic for our government to fine a woman they have banned from working to earn an income.”

Katy McFarland, Sanctuary Advocate at First English Lutheran Church:

“Taking sanctuary is a historically respected, sacred practice that has prevented the tearing apart of families all over the country. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are grateful for the many churches and institutions supporting this movement, but I think you will also agree that sanctuary is NOT a solution for the crisis we are facing. It is a last resort, and it is not sustainable.”


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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