Elvira Arellano is back in Mexico, where she belongs. Her 8-year old son, Saul, a U.S. citizen by birth will start school in September, living under the care of Rev. Walter Coleman, who had given him and his mother “sanctuary” for the past year in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago.

Arellano’s arrest draws “renewed attention to the plight of hundreds of thousands of families who are in the same situation,” the Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, national coordinator of the Los Angeles-based New Sanctuary Movement, tells The Washington Post. She adds that Arellano represents “families with U.S.-citizen children, with a long work record in this country, no criminal history, and who are part of the fabric of our country, who face the prospect of having parents ripped away from their kids.”

Actually, Arellano is a convicted felon,writes San Francisco Chronicle
columnist Debra J. Saunders:

When Arellano snuck across the border in August 1997, she was caught and deported. Arellano then chose to break American law again. She re-entered the country – a felony that, if prosecuted, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. …

According to ICE, Arellano was “working illegally for a janitorial services business whose employees had access to security sensitive areas.” Subsequently, Arellano was convicted for using someone else’s Social Security number – a felony.

Saunders has little patience for the “plight” of parents “ripped away” from their kids”:

Arellano and her defenders argue that because Saul is a U.S. citizen, Elvira should not be forced to return to Mexico and that the U.S. government should not split up families.

Of course, if family unification were important to Elvira Arellano, she should have stayed in Mexico with her family.

Now, she is free to bring her son to Mexico to live with her.

ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro noted that it is sad that the son will pay for his mother’s choices. And: “ICE is not in the business of separating families. Ultimately parents must take the responsibility for the outcome of their illegal actions or decisions.”

Clearly, Arellano does not want Saul to live with her in Mexico. Rather, she wants to live in the U.S. with Saul.

Arellano has been using that child as a human shield, says Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. An editorial in the Chicago Tribune goes further, suggesting that Arellano was using Saul as a publicity magnet:

He often has been pushed under the klieg lights to recite lines about the injustice of his mother’s treatment and his fear of losing her to deportation.

While his mother holed up at Chicago’s Adalberto United Methodist Church for the last year defying authorities, Saul has been trotted out to march at the head of the Puerto Rican People’s Parade, speak at rallies, visit lawmakers in the Mexican parliament and go on TV. Instead of trying to make his childhood as normal as possible under the circumstances, Arellano has assigned him the role of public advocate – a heavy burden for a child.

At his age, Saul wants his mother more than he wants to exercise his citizenship. Forcing him to return to the U.S. proves that Arellano is an unfit mother. What she is doing is tantamount to child abandonment. Why shouldn’t authorities in IL initiate proceedings to terminate Arellano parental rights?

There are about 3.1 million American-born children of illegal immigrants, according to estimates by the Urban Institute and the Pew Hispanic Center. When word gets out to the unknowable numbers of immigrants planning to cross illegally into the U.S. days before their due dates that they risk being deported and losing their “anchor,” there will be a dramatic decrease in the numbers of “blended families” being created. And Rev. Salvatierra can find something else to worry about.

Editorial Note: The Arellano story is one of the first The Stiletto has come across that Google News has accompanied with a comment.

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