Statement on Arrest of Elvira Arellano

PUEBLO SIN FRONTERAS press release, Los Angeles, CA
Aug. 19, 2007

On Aug. 19, at approximately 1:30 p.m., Elvira Arellano was arrested by some 15 ICE agents and taken into custody. At the time of her arrest she was calm and steady and concerned for the safety and state of mind of her son Saulito. She showed great dignity and courage during her arrest. We have been unable to contact I.C.E. to find out her status and we are concerned. We are calling on I.C.E. to give her son, her Pastor and her organization the opportunity to speak with her and verify her safety.

Elvira Arellano left her sanctuary church in Chicago, where she has been for the last year, and was moving from one sanctuary church to another across the country, beginning in L.A. She had announced on Wednesday, August 15th, that she could no longer sit by in safety and watch thousands of families being destroyed by our current broken immigration laws. Elvira had announced that she would make her way to Washington D.C. on September 12th for a day of prayer in front of the Congress. "If they are going to arrest me and separate me from my U.S. citizen son, then let them do it in front of the men and women who have failed in their responsibility to fix this broken law." Elvira's faith, her love for her son and her love for her people led her to act where others had failed to act. Her courage and her witness to the hypocrisy and inhumanity of the immigration laws of this country and the political cowardice of those in Congress charged with fixing these laws.

We will not and we cannot ignore her call to action. We cannot ignore the bond of love between a mother and a child that cries out for justice. We will continue the journey that Elvira Arellano started. We will hold the national Day of Prayer on September 12th and we will gather before the Congress in Washington D.C. We call for peaceful, determined mobilization, beginning tomorrow, in every city and state in this country as we build toward December 12th. Let everyone, let every mother or father who loves their children, say with courage and faith and conviction that say "I am Elvira Arellano." Let them say it with the same courage and faith, love and conviction, that Elvira Arellano has shown the world. Elvira Arellano told the world that she would do what she had to do to make this government see what they did not want to see, the terrible destruction of families that is sweeping this country. Let them see it now, in Saulito's broken heart.

We call again for immediate contact with Elvira Arellano and an immediate report from I.C.E on her condition and on what action I.C.E. plans to take in respect to her situation. We call on the U.S. Congress to move immediately on either of the two private bills which have been languishing in committee for over a year, private bills that, if advanced in the Congress, would have stayed her deportation pending their outcome. We call on Senator Durbin to immediately introduce a private bill in her behalf, as he once did, but failed to reintroduce in the Democratically controlled Senate.

Elvira Arellano is not a criminal or a terrorist. She is a mother – and she is a symbol of the failure of this government and this nation to take responsibility for the system of undocumented labor it has run for decades, to take responsibility for the families that were formed here and the children that were born here.

For more information contact: Anita Rico 773-553-0555, 773-671-1727
Let us mobilize our people. Let us not be afraid. Let us say with faith and dignity, "I am Elvira Arellano!"

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