Grant Edith a Covid-19 Stay of Removal
For delivery to: US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Gomez, Archbishop Vigneron, Archbishop Broglio, and Bishop Parkes
Created by ACT NOW
Categorized as Deportation
In October of 2017, Edith Espinal, entered the Columbus Mennonite Church in Columbus, Ohio seeking sanctuary. Now, for more than 900 days, Edith has not been able to live in her home without fear of deportation. As more restrictions are put in place, it becomes more dangerous for Edith’s family and friends to visit her in a church. During her 925 days in sanctuary, Edith has endured many threats including the threat of deportation, the threat of massive fines, and the threat of isolation and loneliness. Now, to this already stressful situation, another threat has been added: the threat of the COVID-19. We call on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to take action on Edith’s behalf, to meet with the ICE director in Washington D.C., and to personally request a pandemic Stay be granted for her. This family’s future is in your hands.
We hope and pray that faith leaders are ready to take action to speak out against the suffering of family separation caused by U.S. immigration policy and practices. Given the recent developments around this national health emergency, we believe common sense dictates lifting the threat of deportation against vulnerable immigrants like Edith. In late March, the Trump administration extended the federal social distancing guidelines until at least April 30th. Ohio Gov. DeWine has recently issued state-wide stay-at-home orders. It would be absurd to neglect these precautionary but necessary measures. Just like many Americans, Edith is feeling additional stress during this surreal situation. However, unlike many of us, Edith has to also deal with the looming threat of deportation, which is tormenting her and having a toll on her mental health. Just as most of us are depending on our families to help us get through this stressful national health emergency, Edith should be allowed to shelter-in-place with her family without facing arrest or deportation.
Edith moved to Columbus as a teenager and has been a vital member of our community and a member of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish. This is where she has made her home. This is where she and her husband raised their three children. This is where Edith belongs. And now, as we all face this pandemic together, we hope you will help ensure Edith Espinal’s request for a Stay is given a full and fair review.
Pope Francis has approved the new text for the Mass in the Time of Pandemic. The text offers these words of prayer: “Look with compassion on the afflicted, grant … wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.” We now ask you, as leaders of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, to follow the Holy Father’s intentions further by taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of this family -- by meeting with the ICE director in Washington D.C., and personally requesting a pandemic Stay of Removal be granted for Edith Espinal.