Thursday, August 23, 2007

She won't be silenced

"It's tragic when a mother is seperated from her son," stated Luis Cabrera, Mexico's general consul in San Diego.

Elvira Arellano, 32, had been in the safety of the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago IL for over a year now, defying a deportation order. She has become an activist and a national symbol for illegal immigrant parents and last week she announced that she was going to try to lobby U S lawmakers.

Arellano, who has said that she is a single mother, was arrested outside Our Lady Queen of Angels Church right after speaking at a Los Angeles rally SUnday, August 19 2007. She had left her 8 year-old son, Saul, in the care of Rev Walter Coleman, pastor of the church she had been staying in.

"They were in a hurry to deport me because they saw I was threatening to mobilize and organize the people to fight for legalization," stated Arellano in Spanish outside a Tijuana apartment.

Cabrera stated that Arellano wasn't given access to Mexican officials until hours after her arrest and she was at San Diego's Otay Mesa immigration detention center. She was given extensive access to them in San Diego Sunday night according to reports and at 10 pm, she was deported at San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing, after it was determined that she had exhausted her legal recourse.

Mexican authorities state that they don't know the identity or the whereabouts of her son's father. Saul's godmother drove him from Los Angeles to Tijuana to be reunited with his mother but he will be returning with her to start third grade in public school in the U S. Arellano may claim that the U S acted swiftly to deport her because of her views but opponents of illegal immigration have said that her arrest is long overdue.

This is not the first time Arellano has been deported. She first arrived in Washington illegally in 1997 but was soon deported and returned to Mexico. She returned to the U S in 2000 and moved to Illinois where she took a job cleaning planes at O'Hare Airport. In 2002, she was arrested there and convicted of working under a false social security number. Arellano was to surrender to authorities a year ago for deportation but instead, she sought refuge in the church on Aug 15, 2006.

Jim Hayes, director of ICE in Los Angeles has said that her case should be viewed in the proper perspective. She had been using a false identity, convicted of using someone else's social security number and that is a threat to national security. She has been a criminal fugitive in violation of the law until her arrest. Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform added that just because the woman had gone public and made an issue of defying the law, doesn't mean that the law and government has to stop doing it's job.

Arellano had been safely defying her second deportation order within the security of the church for a year and the authorities weren't in a hurry to silence her, they were doing what the law stated. It is no ones fault but her own that she came to the U S illegally, had a child born here and when she stepped out of the church, she had to know that she was going to be arrested. There is no law seperating her from her son, she has chosen to leave him here and take advantage of all the benefits he may receive even though his mother had come here illegally before he was born. If as others say, it is a terrible thing to be seperated from him, she is free to live with him in Mexico, anytime she chooses.

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