Maribel Trujillo Diaz lost her asylum case early this morning, her pastor at Hamilton’s St. Julie Billiart Church said, increasing the likelihood she will be deported Tuesday in a flight from Columbus to Mexico.
Her legal team, however, is pursuing a stay of deportation through the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati, said Father Mike Pucke. Supporters also hold out hope that Ohio’s two U.S. senators will be able to put their weight into her case, which could mark a significant loss for many other immigrants if she is deported, Pucke said.
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“If she is deported tomorrow, then it could have terrible implications for literally thousands of people across the United States,” Pucke said. “This is clearly a case that clearly has national implications,” he said, noting he has been interviewed by numerous Spanish-language media, as well as reporters in Europe, about her case.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley today added his voice to those urging federal officials to reverse the decision to expel the Fairfield mother of four who has lived in the country since 2002.
Butler County was the site of two rallies for her and others in similar situations over the weekend. Supporters of the mother of four U.S.-born children, ages 3 through 14, say she has committed no crimes other than entering in the country without permission and being involved in an immigrant-worker raid a decade ago at Koch Foods.
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Foley said immigration is a polarizing issue, but there seems to be broad agreement that people who enter the country illegally and commit crimes should be deported, Foley said.
Though Trujillo Diaz, who goes by Trujillo, unlawfully crossed into the United States, she is by all accounts deeply involved in the community and has proven to be law-abiding and an upstanding citizen, he said.
“It doesn’t feel right because this woman has never committed a crime and she is a person who has added value to the community,” Foley said.
Others, such as state Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, and Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones have argued that Trujillo brought the situation upon herself: “If she would have come here legally, none of this would have happened,” Jones said.
Foley said he does not personally know Trujillo, but after learning about her story he felt compelled to use his platform to ask federal authorities to nix her deportation. He said current and former administration indicated that its priority was to remove undocumented immigrants who commit crimes in the United States, and Trujillo doesn’t fit the bill.
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“I think there are times when compassion has to kick into the equation, and I think this is one of those times,” he said. “From what I can tell, she’s a good person.”
Foley said he attended an event at a church on Sunday where community members voiced their support of Trujillo.
“Every story is harder than the first one, and every situation is more heartbreaking than the one before it,” said Dayton immigration attorney Karen Denise Bradley, who isn’t representing Trujillo, but has seen similar situations.
“Many of them came in without inspection,” Bradley said. “They’ve been living and working, caring for their children.”
Staff writer Cornelius Frolik contributed to this report.