EDITOR'S NOTE: An initial version of this story stated Maribel Trujillo worked for a church. According to her pastor, she was a volunteer.
CINCINNATI -- A federal court has ruled against Maribel Trujillo, a Fairfield mother of four whose deportation local political and religious leaders rallied to oppose.
A three-judge panel at Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Trujillo's petition for an emergency stay of removal Tuesday afternoon, clearing the way for federal authorities to transport her back to Mexico.
Trujillo's attorney Emily Brown said they decided not to appeal the full Sixth Circut; rather, Brown said she "(hopes) ICE will use its discretion to do the right thing and not deport (Trujillo)." Trujillo and Brown did file a motion to the Board of Immigration Appeals, but Trujillo could already be in Mexico by the time the motion is considered.
The attorney said she hopes statements by Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman and Gov. John Kasich on Trujillo's behalf may motivate ICE to halt the deportation.
Brown said she is working with the Mexican Consulate to provide support for Trujillo, because "she basically has nothing" with her or waiting for her in Mexico.
Trujillo, who came to the United States in 2002, said she originally fled Mexico because drug cartels targeted her family.
"She said (she came) to live a better life -- something you can’t really do in Mexico," her 14-year-old son, Oswaldo, said. "She said the risk was worth taking because not only she gets a better life and her husband, but her kids will get a better life and our kids will get a better life."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials first came into contact with her in 2007, when she was among dozens arrested during a federal raid of a Fairfield Koch Foods plant.
When immigration officials again moved to deport her in 2016, religious leaders' pleas on her behalf earned Trujillo a work permit meant to last until this July.
That permit was still valid when ICE arrested her again in April, according to her pastor, the Rev. Mike Pucke.
Pucke and other local leaders, including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and University of Cincinnati Chaplain Amina Darwish, again implored ICE to reconsider her case and grant her a stay of removal.
But U.S. Circuit Judges Ronald Gilman, Ralph Guy and David McKeague dismissed her motion Tuesday.
"The fact is the children never had a chance to say goodbye to her," Pucke said Saturday.
A group of protesters gathered outside the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to pray and express their support for Trujillo Tuesday evening. Tracy Kemme, a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati who participated, said Trujillo's husband was heartbroken by his wife's deportation.
"I respect that we are a country of laws, but I think there's a higher law," Kemme said. "It's not justice anymore when it's ripping families apart."