Elvira Arellano arrested in Los Angeles

The name might not sound familiar to most, but she is the Mexican woman who caused a stir by seeking sanctuary in a Chicago church, so she wouldn’t have to attend her deportation hearing, slated for August 15, 2006.

According to her Wikipedia entry, here is a brief history of her travails here in the Unites States:

  • 1997, she enters the US illegally from México, she is apprehended and then deported (She manages to re-enter the US illegally within days of her deportation and makes it to Oregon where she resides for 3 years)
  • 1999, she gives birth to a son who is automatically a U.S. citizen
  • In 2000 she moves to Chicago
  • In 2002, she is arrested and convicted for using a false Social Security number (she gets 3 years probation)
  • She is also ordered to appear before immigration authorities on August 15, 2006 (for a deportation hearing)
  • Instead of doing this she goes to a Chicago-area church to seek sanctuary to avoid arrest and subsequent deportation.

Today, Ms. Arellano was arrested in Los Angeles, where she had spoken at 3 churches to speak about immigration. She was picked up by ICE before she could go to a fourth.

I understand that this issue of immigration is highly contentious and to be honest there is a personal dimension in all this for me.

Personal feelings aside, the fact of the matter is that this woman has defied U.S. Law in various ways. It is not racist to say that, it is just a statement of facts. Some good-intentioned folk who are led by emotion have a real problem with facts, and might tend to ignore what the laws in the books have to say about this issue (a close examination of México’s immigration policies is quite surprising given how that government cries foul at U.S. immigration policy).

It has to be acknowledged that some anti-immigration rhetoric is racist at its core. Some folks who are also emotion-driven (though on the other side of the ‘aisle’) and keep expunging on the illegality of what people like Elvira do, are hardly as stringent with themselves and the ones they love as they seem to be with people different from them, for example ask one of these people if they always drive the speed limit and watch them lose their cool (if they had it to begin with).

Since it’s best to apply things on a specific case basis, what should be done in Elvira Arellano’s case? Clearly, the law demands that she must be sent back to México, but what about her son? After all, he is a U.S. citizen and cannot be deported.

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6 Responses to Elvira Arellano arrested in Los Angeles

  1. Brenda says:

    Elvira Arellano and her son should be deported. She made the decision to come illegally and have an “anchor baby” so she could get all the benefits. She knew she
    would face the possibility of being deported so if she is deported and the son stays here in the States, it is her fault they are split up not our government. If she really
    cared about her son and their being together, she should have applied to be come a
    citizen instead of teaching him about breaking the law.

    The church that hid her from ICE should be fined or prosecuted for harboring a
    law breaker. She was the original lawbreaker, then the church fell in right behind her.

    The laws of this nation must be upheld.

  2. she probably should have thought of that before renetering the country. It’s amazing how often people make errors of judgement, and then the system gets blamed. As far as driving the speed limit…i pay my tickets when i get them. Thats the punishment for the misdemeanor. Deportation is the alleged punishment for entering illegally. I guess she should check and see if her son is allowed into Mexico.

  3. Laz says:

    Brenda,
    In all fairness, we cannot say if she had the child for those purposes. Methinks you suppose too much.

    I don’t see what her applying for citizenship would do, understand that one does not apply for citizenship. One has to be a permanent resident for 5 years before one is eligible to apply for citizenship.

    Cri brings up a good point about the boy being allowed into México. I cannot say for sure, but given how Mexican officials have railed against US Immigration policy, they might bend their own immigration laws and allow the boy to remain there legally to show the Americans “how it’s done”.

    If the boy were from Central America, well it might be a different story, for I believe it is Central Americans who are treated like second-class citizens in México. I do not think I go out on a limb when I say that generally speaking Mexicans look down on people from El Salvador.

  4. Peg says:

    I think this is one of those cases (and issues) where pure reason fails and a Christian must lead from the heart. The state must do what the state must do. But the church also has a right to do what the church has always done: provide sanctuary to those in need, to those who ask for help. The church does not — and indeed should not — answer to any secular government for its acts of compassion.

  5. Brenda says:

    In all the reporting on this story, I have never heard a word about where the “daddy” of the boy is……….umh!
    When I travel overseas, I understand that I am subject to the laws of the country I
    am in..why is that so hard for people to understand? All Elvira had to do was to go
    through the proper channel as millions of others have done then she could live here
    and educate he son and have a better way of life instead of being a fugitive.

    If the U.S had immigration laws and enforced them like MEXICO does, we would not have
    any problem with ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Check out how Mexico treats the people
    from the south of their country when they try to cross the border into Mexico. Mexico
    has a double standard.

  6. I think that all cases of anchor babies should be treated about the same. Deport the parent, and it’s up to the parent as to whether to take the child with them or not. If the child goes to Mexico with his mom, he can come back to the US later when he’s older and ready, since he is a citizen.

    The military has TONS of cases where children have to be left with relatives or friends while the parent goes off to another country. It happens all the time. If we can do it with our military, illegal immigrants that break the law just by being here shouldn’t be treated any better.

    I might be willing to make an exception for parents of nursing babies under a year old, or for parents of disabled/injured children that either can not be transported to Mexico or there are no treatment services in Mexico that can take care of them. But in most cases you aren’t going to see that.

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