CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - After a 17-month deportation to Mexico, a mother has been reunited with her family in Fairfield.
On Tuesday night, her church held a special mass to welcome Maribel Trujillo-Diaz back home. Around 70 parishioners filled the church to attending the worship service.
“More than anything, first of all, I want to thank my God for being here with my family and all of you,” said Trujillo-Diaz.
Trujillo-Diaz was deported to Mexico in April 2017 after losing an asylum case. Her attorney says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked her up off the street outside of her home. Father Mike Pucke, the pastor of St. Julie Billiart Church, says her husband and four children ranging in ages from 5 to 16 were devastated by the sudden separation.
“Something like that. It’s like a sudden death. Her family says they never got a chance to hug her and say goodbye,” said Pucke.
During the welcome home ceremony, Trujillo-Diaz says though she was devastated to be away from her family, she stayed in constant prayer that she would one day see them again.
“In prayer I could see the Virgin Mary and Jesus entering my family’s house so far away. With this I had a security that even if I were far away, my family was under the protection of the Holy Family,” said Trujillo-Diaz.
Trujillo-Diaz returned to the U.S. on Sept. 10 after a federal appeals court ordered U.S immigration officials to reconsider evidence in the case. She was released from a detention center on bond on Sept. 19 and was returned to her family. Though she is back home, her attorney says it’s unknown how long the reunion will last.
“It is very possible that it will take years before a judge decides whether she’s entitled to asylum,” said Emily Brown, who is an Advocates for Basic Legal Equality attorney.
In the meantime, the congregation and her family are embracing the time they do have.
The asylum case for Trujillo-Diaz is scheduled to be held in the summer of 2019. Her attorney says the back log of cases could delay the decision.