CINCINNATI (AP) — The planned deportation of a Mexican mother of four U.S.-born children was on hold Tuesday as attorneys asked a federal appeals court to intervene amid widening support for her.
They filed an emergency request Monday with the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals for Maribel Trujillo Diaz. Immigration officials contend Trujillo Diaz entered the United States illegally in 2002 and has exhausted her appeals.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati has called for mercy, saying she has made positive contributions to her church and community in Butler County, just north of Cincinnati. Her attorneys say her family has been targeted by drug cartels in her homeland.
However, attorney Emily Brown said Tuesday afternoon the woman was being moved from Ohio to a federal immigration detention center in Louisiana, as U.S. authorities prepared to complete her removal unless the appeals court agreed to halt it.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions during a tour Tuesday of the U.S.-Mexico border. He urged federal prosecutors to intensify their focus on immigration crimes such as illegal crossings or smuggling others into the U.S.
A spokeswoman for Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said he has personally called immigration authorities urging them to reconsider the case of Trujillo Diaz. A spokeswoman for Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said his office is trying to help “facilitate a solution.”
The archdiocese has said deporting Trujillo Diaz wouldn’t serve the Donald Trump administration’s immigration goals of public safety and removing criminal elements because she has no criminal history and cares for children ranging in age from 3 to 14, the youngest with special needs. It called the action to take her into custody last week “cruel and unacceptable.”
There have been vigils and rallies on her behalf.
Ohio’s Republican governor also spoke out against the immigration action.
“We have enough broken families in the country,” Gov. John Kasich told The Cincinnati Enquirer’s editorial board Monday. “And now what we’re going to do is go hunt them down and ship them out and break up the family and scare the kids?”
But Kasich said the state doesn’t have jurisdiction in the immigration matter.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” said Kasich, who ran against Trump in the presidential primary race. “In case you didn’t know, I’m not president.”
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