Immigration Activist Deported to Mexico

An immigration activist who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year to avoid being separated from her son has been deported to Mexico, the church's pastor said.

Immigration Activist Deported to Mexico
Elvira Arellano was arrested Sunday afternoon outside Our Lady Queen of Angels church in Los Angeles. She was deported several hours later, said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, where Arellano had taken refuge.

"She has been deported. She is free and in Tijuana," said Coleman, who said he spoke to her on the phone. "She is in good spirits. She is ready to continue the struggle against the separation of families from the other side of the border."

A message left with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials late Sunday was not immediately returned.

Arellano, 32, became a symbol of the struggles of illegal immigrant parents when she took refuge in the church to avoid being separated from her 8-year-old son, a U.S. citizen.

She had said Saturday she was not afraid of being taken into custody by immigration agents.

"From the time I took sanctuary the possibility has existed that they arrest me in the place and time they want," she said in Spanish. "I only have two choices. I either go to my country, Mexico, or stay and keep fighting. I decided to stay and fight."

Arellano came to Washington state illegally in 1997. She was deported to Mexico shortly after, but returned and moved to Illinois in 2000, taking a job cleaning planes at O'Hare International Airport.

She was arrested in 2002 at O'Hare and convicted of working under a false Social Security number. She was to surrender to authorities last August.

She sought refuge at the storefront church on Chicago's West Side on Aug. 15, 2006. She had not left the church property until she decided to travel by car to Los Angeles, Coleman said.

AP
Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 11:56
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