Fairfield mother confronts deportation

By: Ellen Siefke ~Managing Editor~

Photo courtesy of The Enquirer | Demonstrations, prayer services and various phone campaigns have been conducted in support of Maribel Trujillo-Diaz of Fairfield, Ohio.

A Fairfield woman faces deportation to Mexico today after the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied her case for a stay of removal.

Maribel Trujillo-Diaz, who has resided illegally in the country since 2002, is a mother of four children ranging in age from 3 to 14. A member of St. Julie Billiart parish in Hamilton, Trujillo-Diaz had previously met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Columbus on April 3, according to the Enquirer. Upon arrival, ICE officials allegedly told her to report back on May 1.

However, two days later, ICE officials showed up at her home and arrested her. After spending time in the Butler County Jail, she was moved to the Morrow County Jail, typically used to detain those facing deportation. She is now staying in a Louisiana detention center.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati issued a statement decrying ICE’s actions and urging elected officials to show leniency. Her case for asylum was based on the danger presented by drug cartel activity in her hometown, specifically the cartel’s kidnapping of her father.

“This is cruel and unacceptable,” the statement said. “Maribel has made a life in Ohio based on positive contributions to her church and her community. She has no criminal history.

“We fully respect the Department of Homeland Security’s duty to enforce our immigration laws, and we recognize that this is not an easy task. At the same time, it is clear that the common good cannot be served at this stage by separating this wife and mother from her family. Our community gains nothing by being left with a single-parent household when such a responsible and well respected family can be kept together.”

Numerous prayer services and demonstrations have taken place across the city in conjunction with phone call and letter-writing campaigns. Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, along with Gov. John Kasich, have likewise issued statements. The story has even gained national attention from the likes of The New York Times, The Guardian and CBS.

The Xavier community was given the opportunity to learn about Trujillo-Diaz’s story following an April 5 presentation on immigration by Father Dan Groody of Notre Dame. After Groody’s talk, Archdiocese Director of Catholic Social Action Tony Stieritz explained the situation and offered a signup sheet for audience members to provide contact information so that they could receive regular updates. Each update also offered suggestions for action, such as calling the ICE offices in Columbus and New Orleans to leave messages asking for leniency.

“We continue to appeal to everyone that this a nonpartisan cause, motivated by our love for Maribel and her family, rooted in our faith’s teachings on family, migration, justice and mercy,” Stieritz said in one of the updates.

With Trujillo-Diaz about to be deported, another prayer service is planned for 2 p.m. this Sunday at St. Julie Billiart Church.