LOS ANGELES — An illegal immigrant who sought sanctuary in a Chicago church for a year to avoid deportation and separation from her 8-year-old American son was arrested Sunday, the church's pastor said.
Elvira Arellano was arrested before 3 p.m. outside Our Lady Queen of Angels church on L.A.'s historic Olvera Street where she had been speaking to reporters, said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago where she sought sanctuary.
Why the hell didn't they arrest her when she left the church in Chicago, that's what I want to know.
No, scratch that. What I really want to know is why they didn't go into the damn church in Chicago and arrest her in the first place. The whole idea of taking sanctuary from the government (a foreign government, in this woman's case) in a religious institution has no legal basis that I'm aware of.
Okay, and the other thing? No one is forcing this woman to be separated from her son. No one is saying, "Well, your 8 year old is American, he has to stay here and you have to go home". Nope, she is perfectly OK to take the little tyke back to Mexico with her, and when he's 18 or whatever the legal age is down there, he can come back because he is an American citizen. She is not. Maybe she should have thought about that before she had her kid here.
Coleman said he was with Arellano when she was detained, but declined to provide other details.
"We're trying to determine her situation right now," he said.
It was unclear what law enforcement agency had taken Arellano into custody.
A call to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not immediately returned.
The 32-year-old Arellano arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday, leaving her sanctuary for the first time in a year to campaign for immigration reform.
Arellano has become a symbol of the struggles of illegal immigrant parents and a source of controversy. She had said Saturday she was not afraid of being taken into custody by immigration agents.
Isn't that kind of belied by the fact that she was 'hiding' from them in a church for a year?
"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."
Nooooo you go back to Mexico, wench. I wonder if she speaks any Ingles. (That's "English" for you gringos.)
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 later 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 Aug. 15, 2006. She had not left the church property until deciding to be driven to Los Angeles, Coleman said.
Seriously, people. WTF is wrong with this country's idea of sovereign borders and national-freaking-security??
ETA: Here's a quick primer on illegal immigration.