Tuesday, August 21, 2007

National Rally on Sept. 12 for Arellano

Immigration activist deported to Mexico
Elvira Arellano, detained in L.A., is seen as an icon of migrant rights by some and as a symbol of lawlessness by others.
By Teresa Watanabe
Los Angeles Times
August 21, 2007

U.S. immigration officials announced Monday that Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant who symbolized inhumane treatment of migrants to some and brazen lawlessness to others, has been deported to her native Mexico, as immigrant-rights groups vowed to respond with massive protests.

Arellano, a 32-year-old single mother, was "a criminal fugitive alien who spent a year seeking to elude federal capture" by taking refuge in a Chicago church, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

The agency said that tracking down and deporting immigration fugitives was one of its "top enforcement priorities" and that 220,000 illegal immigrants had been deported between last October and July, among the highest numbers ever for a 10-month period.

Federal immigration officials said they chose to arrest Arellano because she had defied not only immigration law but also federal criminal law....

...many immigrant-rights groups view Arellano as a symbol of courage in defying U.S. deportation orders that separated her from her 8-year-old son, Saul, a U.S. citizen. Southern California labor, religious and immigrant-rights groups are organizing vigils, political lobbying to give Arellano legal status to return and a march on Saturday through downtown Los Angeles to protest the actions.

Activists are also planning a national rally and boycott on behalf of Arellano in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12, said Carlos Montes of the March 25 Coalition, which organized the massive immigration march through Los Angeles last year.

"She's encouraging and inspiring people by her courage in service of a mission to draw attention to the suffering of immigrant families," said the Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California, who is helping coordinate a national movement to offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants.


Photo: International Bridge at Tijuana www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/.../ 08border.jpg

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