Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Activist deported from US


An immigration activist who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year to avoid being separated from her son has been deported to Mexico, the church's pastor said.

Elvira Arellano was arrested on Sunday afternoon outside Our Lady Queen of Angels church in Los Angeles. She was deported several hours later, said Reverend 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 telephone. "She is in good spirits. She is ready to continue the struggle against the separation of families from the other side of the border."

A message left with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials was not returned.

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 eight-year-old son, a US citizen.

She had said on Saturday she was not afraid of being taken into custody by immigration agents.

"From the time I took sanctuary the possibility has existed that they will arrest me in the place and time they want," she said in Spanish. "I only have two choices. I can either go to my country, Mexico, or stay and keep fighting. I have decided to stay and fight."

Arellano sought refuge at the storefront church on Chicago's West Side on Aug. 15, last year. She had not left the church property until she decided to travel by car to Los Angeles, Coleman said.

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