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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elvira Arellano (born 1975) is a Mexican citizen from San Miguel Curahuango, Michoacán, notable for seeking sanctuary while living illegally in the United States. Facing deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Arellano was granted sanctuary in the Adalberto United Methodist Church on Division Street in Chicago (although the law does not recognize the concept of "sanctuary") in August 2006. On August 19, 2007, having traveled to California to make appearances, Arellano was arrested by U.S. authorities outside of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in downtown Los Angeles and deported to Mexico.[1] She is the president of La Familia Latina Unida (United Latino Family), a group that lobbies for families that could be split by deportation.[2]



Arellano entered the United States illegally in 1997 and was apprehended and deported back to Mexico by the United States government.[3] She returned within days and lived illegally for three years in Oregon.[1] In 1999, she gave birth to a son, Saul Arellano, whose father remains unnamed by Elvira. Saul is a United States citizen. In 2000, Arellano moved to Chicago and worked as a cleaning woman at O'Hare International Airport.[3] In 2002, following a post-September 11 security sweep, she was arrested and convicted of Social Security Fraud.[3] Arellano was ordered to appear before immigration authorities on August 15, 2006.[1] On that date she took refuge in the Adalberto United Methodist church in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago, which maintained it was a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. Before that, she sought safe haven for a year in Amor De Dios United Methodist Church with Pastor José S. Landaverde, who begun the new immigrant sanctuary movement in Illinois.[4]

On November 14, 2006, in Mexico City, Saul Arellano appeared before the Congress of Mexico.[5] The Mexican lawmakers passed a resolution to urge the United States government to suspend the deportation of Arellano and other parents of children who are United States citizens.

She was arrested on August 19, 2007 in Los Angeles. Within hours of her arrest Arellano was repatriated to Mexico by U.S. federal agents in compliance with an existing deportation order. She was accompanied to the Mexican border by an official of the Mexican consulate in San Diego, California, as well as by agents of the U.S. government.[6][7][8][9][10][11]


Arellano says that she should not have to choose between leaving her US citizen child in the U.S. or taking him to Mexico. [6] Critics of Arellano counter that she is exploiting her son in order to remain in the United States.[6] Latino advocates have highlighted this case as one of civil rights.[12] Arellano's claim of a "right of sanctuary" and a claim to stay in the United States has been taken up by Latino advocate groups such as National Alliance for Immigrants' Rights, NCLR, LULAC, among others.[12][13] In support, La Placita, a historic Los Angeles church, declared itself a sanctuary for any undocumented immigrant facing deportation, something it did during the 1980s for the first refugees from war-ridden Guatemala and El Salvador who escaped to California.[12]

The U.S. government's position is that Arellano is free to take Saul with her to Mexico in order to keep her family together.[1] Prior to Arrellano's deportation, the U.S. government also noted that there is no claim to sanctuary in a church under U.S. law.[6]

Upon her return to Mexico Arellano stated that, "the United States is the one who broke the law first. By letting people cross over [the border] without documents. By letting people pay taxes. . . ."[14] These comments led to criticism because this statement is very similar to those made by anti-immigration groups in the United States.[15]

On May 3, 2007, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), introduced H.R. 2182, which would grant legal immigrant status, with the possibility of applying for permanent residence status, to Arellano as well as 33 other people.[16] The bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and (as of August 2007) has yet to move out of the committee.

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b c d NON-WORKING LINK:
  2. ^ "Feds Won't Raid Church For Immigrant". CBS News / Associated Press. 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2008-01-14.  
  3. ^ a b c Prengaman, Peter (2007-08-20). "Immigration Activist Deported to Mexico". Retrieved 2008-01-14.  
  4. ^ [1] El Santuario De Los Inmigrantes
  5. ^ "Boy wages fight for mother," Oscar Avila. Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Washington: Nov 15, 2006. pg. 1
  6. ^ a b c d "Boy Fighting Mom's Battle To Stay In U.S.". CBS News / Associated Press. 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2008-01-14.  
  7. ^ Chicago Woman’s Stand Stirs Immigration Debate - New York Times
  8. ^ G:\Civil\06 Cases\06 C 4582\Motion to Dismiss Order.wpd
  9. ^ - Judge Strikes Blow To Hopes Of Immigrant In Church
  10. ^ Elvira Arellano and the law -
  11. ^ ArellanoElvira - Elvira Arellano
  12. ^ a b c LA Weekly - News - Remember the Immigrant-Rights Movement? - Daniel Hernandez - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles
  13. ^ Byassee, Jason (Oct 31, 2006). "Liberal Literalists" "Sanctuary (...the new Rosa Parks)". The Christian Century. p. Vol.123, Iss. 22; pg. 10. "Liberal Literalists".  
  14. ^;_ylt=AvlujuAvHEAa42EbDG4nFI39wxIF
  15. ^ GovTrack: H.R. 2182: Text of Legislation


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Elvira Arellano (born 1975) is president of La Familia Latina Unida (United Latino Family), a Mexican group that lobbies for families who face deportation.


  • Why do they take the taxes and accept my manual labor for nine years? Why do they accept my taxes but cannot accept the fact that I have human rights?
    • Tram Nguyen, "No Sanctuary: Elvira Arellano Deported Without Son," RaceWire: The Colorlines Blog (2007-08-20) [1]
  • I am not a criminal. I have nothing to be ashamed of. We are workers, mothers, human beings. We should be able to be proud of who we are.
    • Hispanic Magazine (August 2007)

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