Church sanctuary refugee deported to Mexico

Elvira Arellano
Recently deported Elvira Arellano, whose yearlong sanctuary in a Chicago Methodist church symbolized for some activists unjust U.S. immigrant laws, said that she envisions little possibility of returning to the United States. “The only thing I can do is stay in Mexico,” she said to the Chicago Tribune in a telephone interview from Tijuana.

Arellano was arrested August 19 outside Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles, then processed through U.S. Customs and Immigration offices and taken 100 miles south to the border.

Arellano’s eight-year-old son, Saul, a U.S. citizen because of his birth in this country, has rejoined his mother in Mexico but will probably return to Chicago soon for school. Arellano plans to continue her work for immigration reform.

The single mother’s arrest was deemed inevitable after she announced plans to travel before attending a prayer and fast vigil in Washington September 12. She spoke at four churches in Los Angeles, including Angelica Lutheran Church, which serves many Latin American immigrants.

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