The government acted quickly to deport illegal alien-cum-immigration activist Elvira Arellano after her arrest yesterday. Within hours of her capture, after years of defying the order for her second deportation, American officials deported her to Tijuana. Supporters expressed outrage over her quick ejection:
Elvira Arellano was arrested Sunday afternoon outside Our Lady Queen of Angels church in Los Angeles. She was deported several hours later, said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, where Arellano had taken refuge.
“She has been deported. She is free and in Tijuana,” said Coleman, who said he spoke to her on the phone. “She is in good spirits. She is ready to continue the struggle against the separation of families from the other side of the border.” …
Arellano, 32, became a symbol of the struggles of illegal immigrant parents when she took refuge in the church to avoid being separated from her 8-year-old son Saul, who was born in the U.S. and is thus a citizen.
Arellano’s odyssey began with her illegal entry into the US in 1997. Sho got deported for illegal entry, but then came back across the border illegally again and wound up working at Chicago’s O’Hare International, cleaning planes. Unfortunately for Arellano, when she got the job, she committed Social Security fraud and got caught in 2002.
Arellano got prosecuted for her second illegal entry, but the immigration service did not detain her. Instead, Arellano got to remain free under the previous catch-and-release program. She was ordered to report back to authorities last summer, but instead took refuge in a Chicago church and refused to come out.
So did the government storm the church in an Elian Gonzalez-style raid, facing her down with automatic rifles, and drag her out of the place of worship? Not exactly. Arellano decided to drive to Los Angeles to take part in a planned protest against immigration policy. Authorities found out about it and arrested the fugitive, and immediately executed the deportation order, as required by law.
Naturally, to the protestors, this was the fault of the government. “How dare they arrest this woman?” one asked, apparently astonished that law enforcement actually takes their jobs seriously. I’d say the question should be more along the lines of why it took so long to arrest her. No one questions her illegal entry; no one questions her commission of Social Security fraud. Apparently the activists simply want the government to ignore the law as much as they do.
Well, one can hardly blame them. For years, the government did exactly that. However, when Arellano made it as obvious as she did, they had to expect some kind of reaction. Perhaps this means that the government has decided to take immigration enforcement a little more seriously, but we’ll have to see whether that just applies to those who publicly thumb their noses at ICE or whether it applies to everyone who breaks the law.