Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Elvira Arellano-The "Mexican Rosa Parks?-Not Hardly

On August 19, ICE agents arrested Mexican national, Elvira Arellano, 32, in Los Angeles. Ms Arellano was taken into custody as an illegal alien, processed and deported to her native Mexico within 24 hours. Her eight year old son, who was born in the US and thus holds US citizenship, was left behind in the care of supporters when Ms Arellano chose not to take him with her to Mexico. This arrest and deportation was the culmination of a year-long saga that began when Ms Arellano, who was under a deportation order, took refuge in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago. The case has aroused national attention, and immigration activists have rallied to her cause. Some have even taken the liberty of referring to Ms Arellano as the “Mexican Rosa Parks” because of her act of defying immigration authorities.

Ms Arellano originally entered the US illegally in 1997. Subsequent to her arrival, her son was born on US soil. Ms Arellano was later deported, only to return to the US again (illegally). In 2002, she was arrested in Chicago, where she was working at O’Hare Airport cleaning planes. In addition to immigration charges, she was also charged with using a false social security number and ordered deported. Instead of leaving, she defied the authorities, and in 2006, took refuge in the United Methodist Church in Chicago under the protection of Pastor Walter Coleman. Pastor Coleman in the past year, has given several interviews in which he has defiantly justified the action, claiming that the government’s immigration policy was broken. In order to rub salt in the wound, Ms Arellano has also often spoken publicly to reporters criticizing the US policies and NAFTA, which “have done much damage to her country, forcing her to come to the US”.

Things came to a head this past week when Ms Arellano announced that she was planning to leave her sanctuary in order to travel to Washington and participate in demonstrations for immigration reform. Attention then focused on ICE and what action they would take. Then, yesterday, Arellano turned up in Los Angeles, at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Angels in the downtown area. (This church is the domain of controversial Cardinal, Roger Mahony, who has drawn criticism for his handling of the pedophile priest scandal as well as his support for illegal alien amnesty.) As mentioned above, Arellano was arrested outside the church, processed and quickly deported. Given the option of taking her son with her, she declined, leaving him in the care of her supporters. As of this writing, Arellano is in the border town of Tijuana, while her son is reportedly en route back to Chicago.

I applaud the action of ICE for their (long overdue) enforcement of the law. For obvious reasons, they chose not to invade the Chicago church to take her into custody. I realize that many, even among the secure borders crowd, feel badly that Ms Arellano and her son have been separated. (The father, whoever he is, is not in the picture.) But the choice was Ms Arellano’s not to take him with her to Mexico, which she was free to do. Why is she leaving him behind? Probably to prolong the issue and bring criticism to the US Government.

A couple of other aspects of this case must be remembered: First, Ms Arellano had already been deported, returned, was ordered deported again and refused, fleeing to the church instead. Then she made a public spectacle of the whole story, in effect telling the government that our immigration laws be damned. She and her supporters, including the aforementioned Pastor Walter Coleman, have literally rubbed our noses in it.

It should also be stressed that this woman stole someone else’s identity- a criminal offense- by working with a false social security number. How can ICE, in a post-911 world, not take action against any illegal alien working at a major airport under a false identity?

Elvira Arellano, in my view, should give up her crusade to live in this country and send for her son to join her in Mexico. When he comes of age, he can decide whether he wants to assert his US citizenship and return here.

One more point. Ms Arellano is no Rosa Parks, and the comparison is an insult to the latter. Rosa Parks was being denied her fundamental rights as a US citizen (and human being) in another era and under an unjust local law. She was arrested for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man! Our immigration laws are not unjust. They are the same as any other country in one basic respect: We maintain the sovereign right to allow or refuse entry to anyone we please. No non-citizen has the right to enter America (or any other nation) without proper documentation and passing through the appropriate checkpoint. Elvira Arellano and her open-border supporters were basically telling us that we could take our laws and ……., well, you know. At least on this occasion, justice was, albeit belatedly, served.

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