Did Elvira Plan to be Captured by ICE?

LatinaLista — The carefully orchestrated apprehension of Elvira Arellano yesterday in Los Angeles, California showed that the federal government, above all else, did not want a repeat performance of what happened in Miami in 2000 when agents stormed the house where 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez was living.

Elvira with her son Saul
It couldn’t have worked out better for them, and on some level, we are left to wonder if Elvira and her supporters didn’t plan for this to happen.


To flaunt her presence by holding press conferences, it seems to have been more than just an act of defiance and a daring of ICE to come and get her.
Though she will be in Mexico (reports say she is being actively deported soon), Elvira’s voice can be as effective, if not more so, from across the border — especially if she chooses to not take her son, Saul, with her.
There would be no better example to illustrate how the current immigration policies are tearing apart families.
Also, with her capture, Elvira has slowly ignited an outrage that has people composing songs, holding vigils and writing blog posts :) on her behalf.
Elvira’s name will not go away and though she’ll be across the border, her voice will probably be louder than it has been all year — something that the Department of Homeland Security didn’t anticipate.
A reader alerted Latina Lista to a song that has been composed in support of Elvira.
What better way to live on than in song:
This song was written in support of Elvira Arellano and her son Saul. We are neighbors of Elvira’s Humboldt Park sanctuary Adalberto United Methodist Church, and as musicians, we have chosen to lend our voice to her crusade.

As many of you know, Elvira, under threat of deportation, has taken refuge to avoid separating from her son Saul, who is a U.S. citizen.
ELVIRA’S SONG
E. Wright Cooley, Rebecca F., Colin McGeehan 2007
Jesus, hide me
Don’t let them take Saulito away
My boy’s an American
Like I would be if I had my way
Why don’t you want me?
My home is here and I want to stay
Mother or motherland
Is not a choice a son should make
I’m not a criminal
I’m not a terrorist
I’m just a single working mother and I need this.
CHORUS
Saulito
Le lo le
Saulito
U.S.A.
Tried to break up my family
That’s why I had to raise the stakes
And I’m asking you honestly
Did you think you wouldn’t do the same?
A.) Accept me
B.) Ignore me
C.) Deport me
D.) There is no D!
We are not criminals
We are not terrorists
We are honest working families and we need this

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13 Comments

  1. Nonviolent Migration said:

    I don’t know if she was intentionally arrested, but I sort of hope so. There is so much untapped power in civil disobedience. People really ought to read Dr. King’s book “Why We Can’t Wait” and John Lewis’ book “Walking with the Wind” for descriptions of the use of civil disobedience to highlight unjust laws. I don’t have the books with me but one of these civil rights leaders says something to the effect of ‘when hundreds of kids follow the police around the city asking to be arrested (especially when the police used to be one of the groups who most terrorized their community) it really shows how nonviolent civil disobedience empowers a community.’

  2. adriana said:

    I also think that it is a powerful statement leaving Saul here, where he has full rights as a citizen. She obviously wanted him to have the advantages of US citizenship. I hope that his current caretaker, the pastor of the church in Chicago, serves to be a great mentor and inspires him to grow into a healthy, productive, educated American.

  3. yave begnet said:

    I’m glad to see the immigrant and immigrant-sympathetic communities mobilized by Arellano’s plight, and I think this involvement is a good thing overall. But media events like this–especially when they result in large numbers of Latinos gathering–are also grist for restrictionists, and you can bet that Limbaugh, Hannity, and O’Reilly are playing this up for all it’s worth.
    One goal as I see it is to emphasize the personal elements of this story to get through to the non-crazy 73%, which Arellano and her pastor seem to have done well so far. The other goal is to motivate the Latino community to naturalize and vote.

  4. jpe said:

    I don’t see this playing well with those that haven’t made up their minds. She cared about her kid that she didn’t take him with her? Meh.

  5. Frank said:

    She had the choice of taking him with her or leaving him here. She is the one separating herself from her son, not the U.S. government.

  6. El Gato said:

    Es interesante, eso tambi̩n me recuerda del caso de Elian GonzalezРy naturalmente tambi̩n de Rosa Parks!
    It’s indeed a very effective demonstration of civil disobedience, to calmly allow oneself to be arrested to protest an outrageous law.
    The truth is, the Anglo haters are afraid of us b/c they know that time is on our side, not theirs– within only a few years and already in some cases, we will be the majority in the Southwest where we were brutalized by force in the Mexican War 160 years ago.
    The Anglos have constantly been violating the terms of the treaties and agreements concluding the Mexican War, which allow for full respect for Latino property and residency rights in the Southwest, full recognition of the right to hablar y usar español for all public purposes such as government, ballots, schools and courts, to celebrate our culture and our holidays here.
    Elvira is not the illegal, her ancestors were present and farming the stretch from California to Texas a long time before the Mexican War imposed that arbitrary, stupid border and victimized her and her relatives. I’m fine living side by side with the Anglos if they respect us and nuestra cultura, but when they show their racist side and join the Minutemen like this, no estan bienvenidos aqui.
    Again, we have our Rosa Parks here. Take heart friends b/c again, time is on our side, not the Anglos– we only need to wait this out, before we take full power in the places where we belong.
    El futuro en el suroeste pertenece a nosotros, no a los Anglos! Espere, tenga paciencia, porque nosotros vamos a ganar!

  7. El Gato said:

    Y otra vez while I’m on my soapbox– if you are raising Latino children in the USA, please consider homeschooling them. I can no longer keep track of the horrendous accounts I’ve heard among Latino parents about the disaster of the US public schools in which their kids are constantly exposed to crime, drugs, violence, unhealthy food and about zip for teaching, while being indoctrinated to hate themselves and deny their own history in the USA prior to the Mexican War.
    The reason for this is that Anglos hate paying taxes to support schools that would teach colored people, so the US public schoolsРat least the traditional ones that teach in English onlyРare a disaster. (The double immersion ones that teach partly en espa̱ol tend to be a good deal better.)
    Por eso, it’s important that we take more advantage of home-schooling opportunities, as Anglo and African-American parents have. Our households are ideal for this, and we can teach our kids quality subjects in a much safer and healthier environment, provide healthier food and better peer interactions, avoid the crime and violence that plagues US schools, enseñar much of our instruction using español as a medium (which is essential for getting a job and not just our heritage– very good textbooks en español available from e.g. Mexico and Chile) and in general just ensure that our kids are successful.
    Homeschooling is important for us who live in the Southwest (unless we can get our kids into the very good double-immersion schools that teach parcialmente en español), but even more so for those of us live in states outside of our traditional homelands. We don’t have the same kind of demographic and social strength here, and we’re more vulnerable to the hatred of the racist Anglos who attack us– which includes underfunding the public schools that students of color attend, and trying to separate us from our culture and heritage to make us easier to manipulate. Homeschooling in these places in particular is critical, to give our kids anything resembling an education and keep our people together.
    FWIW, I wish we Latinos wouldn’t disperse so much into states where we’re such a small and powerless minority and so thoroughly hated and attacked by bigoted Anglos. We weaken ourselves there, whereas in states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas where we’re becoming the majority, we’re able to stick together and stand up to the bigots. There’s strength in numbers.
    In my experience, the states that are worst for Latinos include Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa and West Virginia. IMHO we’d do much better to avoid these states and concentrate ourselves and our political power in our homelands here where we’ve been since well before the Mexican War.
    Trabajando y quedandonos juntos son fuentes de fuerza!

  8. yave begnet said:

    Seeing homeschooling’s effects on children of the fundamentalist right doesn’t give me much hope for the future of homeschooling for Latinos. Your solution for kids who have trouble navigating the system that is, in many ways, stacked against them is to simply remove them from that system. I think engaging the system to change it holds more promise.
    Also, the hard line you draw between Anglos and Latinos is, in my view, unnecessary and counterproductive. My sister-in-law’s father is Anglo, her mother is a Tica. What does that make her (or her daughter)? How should she respond to your comments above? How should the rest of us?

  9. adrianam said:

    I don’t think that home schooling is the answer either. Most families need two incomes just to get by. I would have to agree w/ Yave, engaging the system to change it is probably the better option. Now, I do think that we Latinos should supplement classroom lessons with tutoring, test prep, and college preparatory activities outside of school like other groups do. This would help fill the void with history, math, and reading in particular.

  10. Frank said:

    If we stopped educating illegal aliens and deported them instead, our quality of schooling would go up.

  11. Horace said:

    “Homeschooling in these places in particular is critical, to give our kids anything resembling an education and keep our people together.”
    That’s funny. I understand that one should have at least a high school education to home school. Half of the Hispancis in Los Angeles drop out and the majority of illegal immigrants don’t even make it to high school. Hispanic children wouldn’t do very well being taught by their parents. However, for history they could always listen to the diatribes of El Gato to obtain the true facts surrounding U.S. – Mexican relations.
    Speaking of history, explain to me why, although Mexico hasn’t experienced the scourage of war of 160 years, and Korea and Japan were essentially destroyed and built out of the ashes of WWII, Mexico’s economy is poor in comparison. I suppose that you’ll blame it on the U.S.

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