Breaking News: Chicago Church Grants Sanctuary for Second Time

LatinaLista — Flor Crisotomo is the latest undocumented immigrant to ask for sanctuary at Chicago’s Adalberto United Methodist Church, the former sanctuary of Elvira Arellano.
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Flor Crisostomo, an illegal immigrant from Mexico arrested at a workplace raid at a Chicago site of IFCO Systems in 2006, is helped by supporters as she leaves a news conference in Adalberto United Methodist Church where she sought sanctuary today Monday, Jan. 28, 2008 in Chicago to avoid deportation. Federal immigration officials say if she doesn’t comply with a deportation order by tonight, she’ll be considered a fugitive. Crisostomo says she knows her action will almost certainly lead to deportation or imprisonment. But she says she had to act to try and change U.S. immigration laws. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) (M. Spencer Green – AP)
Flor is staying for all the reasons why all undocumented immigrants stay — no job back home that can pay enough to keep her family fed, clothed and her children in school. The prospect of going back to an impoverished situation with no recourse to work herself out of it is enough reason that she and many stay and would rather challenge the federal government.


One source tells Latina Lista that Elvira and her son Saul are now living in a two-room shack with no indoor bathroom — a hard adjustment after living in the US with humble but basic necessities met.
Yet, while most undocumented immigrants’ reasoning for staying in the US is along the lines of “the US needs us,” Flor blames the US directly for losing her livelihood in Mexico and can prove it.
It wasn’t until a new highway was built, far from her family’s restaurant, to cater to new NAFTA traffic that her family lost everything.

Driven here because of the effects of NAFTA on her home town, she came to support her three children, her sister and her aging mother. She worked for IFCO until that company was raided in a high profile national raid in 2006, when she was arrested.
Flor explained that undocumented workers are caught between two U.S. policies. On the one hand, Homeland Security and a wave of local laws across the country are making it more and more difficult to survive openly in this country. On the other hand, the policies of NAFTA have devastated the rural economy of Mexico and as many as a million more Mexican farmers will be put out of work this year and most will seek to travel north.
“I cannot support my children if I return to Mexico because of the policies of NAFTA and yet for the 12 million it is becoming more and more difficult to survive here.”
“The government has no intention of deporting 12 million people. They say they expect us to self-deport, but we cannot leave because of what U.S. economic policies have done to destroy jobs in our home countries. That is why the current policy will not end the system of undocumented labor. It will only drive us into worse and worse jobs.”
“I will not be a symbol of fear to spread among my people. I hope that adding my grain of sand to the struggle will help to get the U.S. Congress to act to fix a broken law and an inhuman system of undocumented labor.”

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26 Comments

  1. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    Since this church has chosen to harbor illegal aliens it has now become a sanctuary for those that defy the law and thumb their nose at U.S. policies. Since the church is now playing politics it should have it’s tax exempt status removed immediately. If a person had committed a crime, other than the one this woman has committed, do you think the church would also offer them sanctuary? And if it did offer such sanctuary, don’t you think that authorities would not hesitate entering the church to apprehend the person? She should be no different since she has blatantly ignored court orders to be deported.
    Don’t enter the U.S. making demands of our government to change our laws and policies to satisfy or justify a condition that was created by breaking the law in the first place. Go home and rally your people to demand change in your own country with the same zeal that is witnessed on the streets of cities all over America when thousands march making demands they have no rights to make.

  2. Jax said:

    Eyes of Texas is absolutly right. The mixing of church and State is, and always has been, toxic. It is against the law and that church should indeed have its tax exempt status cancelled.

  3. Evelyn said:

    One can tell just by looking at her face SHE IS AMERICAN TRUE INDIGENOUS AMERICAN here to stay! For those that don’t like it LUMP IT! or better yet LEAVE!

  4. Maldonado said:

    This is good news! I hope this spreads to other states as well.
    It’s not the fault of the Mexican people that the U.S. government is being run by the political equivalent of the Keystone Cops.
    George Boosh is ineffectual. He’s been a lame duck since his inauguration. Just because the average whiteboy Bubba is stuck with fake “American” democracy does not mean our people have to suffer as well.

  5. laura said:

    Dear “Eyes of Texas”,
    you ask, If a person had committed a crime, other than the one this woman has committed, do you think the church would also offer them sanctuary?
    The answer is: clearly the church would not offer sanctuary to a criminal. They are offering it because she is not a criminal.

  6. yave begnet said:

    Since the churches Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in were sanctuaries for lawbreakers, they should have had their tax exempt status removed. We should have locked up King and his supporters for thumbing their noses at US policies … er, locked them up for longer. Too bad we didn’t nip that little Problem in the bud back in the 60s–just look at the national nightmare the civil rights movement has brought us. Now even immigrants are claiming to have some sort of human rights–ridiculous, isn’t it?
    On another note, I’d like a little more policy analysis than the bare assertion that “NAFTA destroyed our livelihoods.” This may be true, but I’m often left waiting for details about how, why, who. To the extent that NAFTA represents American-style capital-worship, then yes, I have issues with it. But it also represents an important step towards North American integration, EU-style. A NAFTA-less U.S. would still be exploiting labor to enrich capital. It would just do so on a less cooperative basis. Unreasonable U.S. ag subsidies and an entrenched caste system in Mexico are more to blame for those left behind than NAFTA. I don’t know, I’d like to see more nuance in this discussion. It’s fine to condemn NAFTA, but then don’t shop. Period. It’s the only way to stay ideologically coherent on this issue. Mexico’s problems are much deeper than NAFTA and getting rid of it may not bring them any closer to resolution.

  7. Jax said:

    I have no interest in calling this illegal a criminal. I do, however, believe that by virtue of being illegal she should be promptly repatriated to Mexico.
    By the way, although I now live in Jacksonville I am a New Yorker. The appellation “bubba” is hardly applicable.

  8. Horace said:

    You people act like the Mexican people are children and the U.S. a predator. The real truth is that Mexico was a sovereign democracy when it signed NAFTA. If the government of Mexico made a mistake, then it can rectify it by bowing out.
    As to invoking the Civil Rights movement, there is no comparison. This is not a civil rights issue, nor is it a human rights issue. There is no recourse under the Constitution or international law that grants this woman any right to contest her deportation. Mexioo is responsible for her situation, not the U.S. Those that would argue otherwise are just blowing smoke. She’s going home and there’s nothing you can do about it, this ridiculous claim to specious sanctuaries notwithstanding. If you feel stronly enough about it, then send her part of your paycheck when she gets to Mexico City.

  9. Frank said:

    Maldanano, “white boy bubba”? Sounds racist to me and just who would they be?
    Horace, as usual you hit the nail on the head. Mexico’s problems do go deeper than NAFTA and no one forced them to sign that agreement either. As you said, the illegal immigration problem has nothing to do with the Civil Rights Era. The Blacks that were discriminated against were citizens, not illegal aliens. I get so sick of the people in here and all the pro’s in general calling illegal aliens, “immigrants”. According to U.S. law they are not “immigrants”. Immigrants come legally.
    Our laws demand deportation for these illegal aliens and churches should butt out of U.S. law.

  10. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    Please explain how this woman has not committed a criminal act. She has blatantly ignored and defied a federal court order for her deportation. She is a citizen of Mexico who entered the U.S. illegally with the help of a human smuggler and has remained here despite the fact she has been ordered to leave. The only person that will be leaving is Flor which hopefully will set an example for all others that think justice will not be served by seeking sanctuary in a church. If this church continues to defy the legal system those responsible must be prosecuted with harboring illegal aliens.

  11. Frank said:

    LOL! Maybe I should go over to Ireland and demand that I be allowed entry into that country because my face is “white” and I have the typical redish hair of the Irish and I have ancestors from there even though I am not a citizen of Ireland? How bizzare!

  12. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    SHE IS AMERICAN TRUE INDIGENOUS AMERICAN.
    Indigenous means to originate in a particular region or environment. Unless these so called indigenous people sprouted up out of the ground like a plant, then their ancestors came from somewhere else in the world. Perhaps you have heard about the land bridge that once existed between Siberia and this continent that allowed migrating tribes to get here. Who knows, maybe we have common ancestors that were members of one of those migrating tribes.
    My point is there is no such thing as indigenous people. We all came here from somewhere else, or at least our ancestors did. So, before you ask me to leave, remember you and I may have to leave together the same way our ancestors come here together. Perhaps.

  13. Frank said:

    EOT, not only that but most of the tribes that the Mestizo Mexicans of today were from did not originate this far north on the American continent.

  14. Texano78704 said:

    Sorry, but Flor is not a criminal. Let’s ask a former US attorney and see what he says about it:
    “It’s not a crime,” Giuliani said Friday. “I know that’s very hard for people to understand, but it’s not a federal crime.”
    Well, I think that settles that. Unless of course you think we should send the in the cavalry after people who have parking tickets as well.
    These raids by ICE are typical cheap labor conservatism. The raids serve only to put down unruly labor or any attempts by undocumented workers to press for fair treatment. Of course, guys like Horace will try to tell us that undocumented workers do not deserve to be paid and likely undeserving of fair treatment as well. Maybe it is something about being undocumented that turns one into a member of a sub-human species.
    That bastion of liberalism, the Wall Street Journal (and for those of you who are not familiar with the WSJ, I’m being sarcastic here), says this undocumented immigrants:
    Our own view is that the current policy, warts and all, is preferable to some vast new enforcement regime that harasses employers for hiring willing workers. This makes no more sense today than when it was first proposed 20 years ago. We don’t see the logic or fairness in punishing business owners for failing to detect and oust illegal aliens in their midst, especially when Citizenship and Immigration Services has proven so inept at performing the same task. Employers encounter enough red tape without also being required to double as deputy immigration cops or risk facing federal raids and steep fines.
    The conservative establishment wants its cheap labor, boys. But there is more:
    We also had problems with some of the measure’s proposed changes to our current legal immigration policies… Silicon Valley can do a more efficient job than Uncle Sam when it comes to choosing and maintaining the high-skilled workers it needs to keep U.S. companies competitive.
    ~Snip~
    The visa quota for foreign professionals is filled faster every year, the market’s way of saying make more visas available.
    And the WSJ isn’t lobbying for just high tech workers, it is demanding low skill workers too.
    Regarding agriculture workers, the problem isn’t the number of visas available; it’s the cumbersome and litigation-prone process that employers and workers must navigate to use them. As John Hancock, a former Labor Department official, once put it, “The current program, with its multiple regulations and related requirements, is too complex for the average grower to comprehend and use without the aid of a good lawyer or experienced agent.” The result is more illegal immigration.
    Source
    The WSJ article advocates for a guest worker program, but that will only lead to a permanent underclass of exploitable labor (much like what we currently have, only not institutionalized).
    “The government has no intention of deporting 12 million people. They say they expect us to self-deport, but we cannot leave because of what U.S. economic policies have done to destroy jobs in our home countries. That is why the current policy will not end the system of undocumented labor. It will only drive us into worse and worse jobs.”
    Flor is absolutely correct here. If we will not spend $55 billion to expand the SCHIP program, we damn sure are not going to spend close to $100 billion to round up twelve million members of the US workforce.

  15. Evelyn said:

    Meet the New Racism: Same as the Old Racism
    From Michael Phillips
    Mexicans, Central Americans and the Immigration Hysteria
    We should keep this tragic backdrop in mind as we consider today’s immigration fracas. Whether or not we build a hideous Berlin Wall along our Southern border, immigrants will continue pouring over our borders until nations are no longer treated like open markets for modern slave labor. The NAFTA treaty destroyed the Mexican economy, with some of the chief victims small campesinos who are no longer able to compete with American agribusiness. These struggling growers, many of them indigenous people, become landless peasants and now head north to save their families from starvation.
    The lies told about earlier immigrant groups are now told about the Mexican and Central Americans who cross our borders every day. Immigrants have become this year’s gay married couples, a convenient scapegoat targeted by the political right. They are a threat shown on the nightly news scuttling across the border in grainy, night scope vision footage bringing to mind a 50s horror movie. The immigration “crisis” is so dire, according to Fox News’ John Gibson, that he recently called for a crude program of neoeugenics. On May 11 edition of The Big Story, Gibson took a break from ranting about the so called war on Christians to ask viewers to “do your duty. Make more babies.”
    Gibson cited a Census Bureau Report that said that half of all children ages 5 and under belong to minorities. “By far, the greatest number [of children under 5] are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notable, the ones Hispanics call “gabachos”–white people–are having fewer.” Gibson’s comments exposes as deceit the claim that the anti-immigrationistas are only concerned about preserving the national culture and aren’t racists. Gibson obviously believes that being American means having White skin.
    The lies the anti- immigrant movement presented uncritically on the media are easy to refute. Nightly on his news broadcast, CNN’s Lou Dobbs proclaims that modern immigrants don’t want to learn English and reject assimilation. It might interest Mr Dobbs that, according to demographers, 19th century immigrants and their families took on average three generations of residence to completely master the language, WHILE TODAY’S IMMIGRANTS ARE FLUENT IN ENGLISH IN TWO GENERATIONS.
    Rather than using more in government services than they contribute in taxes, IMMIGRANTS FORK OVER $80,000 MORE THAN THEY RECEIVE IN LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL ASSISTANCE COMBINED, according to the National Academy of Sciences. LOW WAGES AND UNEMPLOYMENT ARE DUE MORE TO TECHNOLOGY THAN TO IMMIGRATION, according to several economic studies. The Cato institute studied the relationship of unemployment and immigration between 1900 and 1989 and could document “no statistically reliable correlation” between the two. Mr Dobbs blames immigrants for bringing back diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis, when drug-resistant versions of these diseases began a comeback among our native homeless and poor as a result of an era of Social Darwinism launched by Ronald Reagan. Research by the Cato institute also found that RATHER THEN BRINGING DISEASE, NEW IMMIGRANTS ARE HEALTHIER THAN NATIVE-BORN POPULATION IN ALMOST EVERY MEASURE.
    Violent words precede violent actions. If the public is constantly fed propaganda that a group of people threaten their homes, and their standard of living, their health and their safety, backlash inevitable sets in. This is already happening with the anti-immigration movement today. While researching this paper, I came across a website where one young, white supremacist man noted that an on-line video game awards points to players as they shoot immigrants trying to illegally cross the border. Now, the man gleefully announced, the National Guard can do it for real. Sadly, this lone hacker is not alone as anti-immigrant attitudes have easily morphed into anti-Hispanic thuggery.
    ~~~~~~~~~
    It’s a good thing we are past this phase in the immigration debate. The American people are no longer believing the racists lies. They are showing this by their vote. Almost all of the racists are out, and the front runners are all immigrant friendly! LOL! LOL!

  16. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    We are all immigrant friendly as long as you are speaking of legal immigration. If not, then you are still mixing legal immigrants and illegal aliens into the same bunch again. All of these cut and paste posts appear to be right off the NCLR wed site or some other ethnically driven web site. Don’t be to hasty in believing that American citizens are going to roll over and let any elected official in our federal government ignore the demands of the majority. We were successful in defeating several attempts at granting amnesty to illegal aliens and if need be will do it again and again. There will be no more shady backdoor attempts made to pass legislation that goes against the will of American citizens. Even your “immigrant friendly” front runners know it would be political suicide to do anything that stupid. Please stop with the 12 million head count and get up to date with what is now estimated as 20-25 million.

  17. Texano78704 said:

    Don’t be to hasty in believing that American citizens are going to roll over and let any elected official in our federal government ignore the demands of the majority.
    Actually that happens all the time. Schleps quite frequently use the “this is a republic, not a democracy” rant to justify right-wing-nut legislation.
    But really, you are just astroturfing here, as the majority do want to see a legal status granted to undocumented workers.
    There will be no more shady backdoor attempts made to pass legislation that goes against the will of American citizens. Even your “immigrant friendly” front runners know it would be political suicide to do anything that stupid.
    Well, that is probably true, but last time comprehensive immigration reform was attempted, it was not in secret, or at all like that stupid Terri Schiavo bill that was passed by three Republican senators of the 109th congress.
    Please stop with the 12 million head count and get up to date with what is now estimated as 20-25 million.
    Tell that to Wall Street Journal. They use the 12 million number. Provide a non-biased source for your claim.

  18. Frank said:

    Texano, you can put a spin on it and spread the blame around all you want but entering this country without papers is a violation of our immigration laws. Working in this country while being here illegally is also a violation. It is also a violation on the part of the employers that hire them.
    It is unfortunate that our government didn’t enforce our immigration laws as they promised since the 1986 amnesty but we as American citizens are not going to tolerate this chaos anymore. That is also why you didn’t get the kind of CIR you wanted. We need workplace verification made mandatory, the illegals need to leave and then we can start from scratch again and have migration occur in a legal manner based on our needs. If need reform in expiditing visas for foreign workers then so be it.

  19. Frank said:

    EOT, you know we who are opposed to illegal immigration get accused of posting stats from so-called unreliabe sources in here and are called racists for it and yet here is an article whereby the author calls illegal aliens, “immigrants”. How credible is that? Or claiming that there is an anti-immigrant movement when there isn’t. There were so many lies in that article, I wouldn’t even know where to begin but I guess it is ok for the other side to post lies and not be called racists for it? Hypocrisy at it’s finest!

  20. Jax said:

    Frank, I think you’d enjoy a visit to Ireland. My grandparents came from that fine country legally through Staten Island many years ago.
    There is just one caveat when you land at Shannon or Dublin. You’ll be expected to show a passport in order to gain admittance to the Emerald Isle.
    Isn’t that a great idea?

  21. Evelyn said:

    The person who wrote the article expressed himself with eloquence, and clarity. The people who voice their opinion with their vote do the same. They are all beyond the manipulation, spin and lies you are still using to embarrass yourself with.

  22. yave begnet said:

    For those claiming immigrant-sympathetic candidates are going to be punished at the polls, I ask: When? Right now the three front-runners are Clinton, Obama, and McCain. All three strongly in favor of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. None in favor of nativist fearmongering. So who’s going to sneak up from behind and ride the supposedly massive restrictionist vote to the White House this year?
    Bueller? … Bueller?

  23. Frank said:

    An opinion is just an opinion just as the many articles that the anti’s post. But we get called racists for agreeing with any anti view. Is there a double standard here? It is a lie to call illegal aliens, “immigrants”. It is a lie to say that there is an anti-immigrant movement in this country. That article was so full of lies it was unbelievable.
    Those candidates are not “immigrant sympathizers” they are illegal alien sympathizers. Big difference! Bush wanted CIR too but did he get it? NO! A president only has so much power. Congress has much of the power in this country and CIR didn’t get thru congress the last time.
    There is nothing restrictionist or nativist about wanting our immigration laws enforced and for immigrants to come legally and in reasonable numbers from different countries.

  24. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    Clinton, Obama and McCain know all too well the negative response from American citizens if they even try a blanket amnesty. Perhaps there will be some type of reform in the future, but as things stand now none of these three candidates want to feel the heat by addressing this issue any time soon. They may say they will do something, but it’s what they have to say in order to get votes from illegal alien sympathizers. In the end nothing will change to make much of a difference. The only bill that will be passed into law will be the Democrap proposed Save Act.

  25. Horace said:

    George Bush’s pro-Mexican sentiments have been a matter of record for some time now, even before he was last elected. Remember how his pro-amnesty support of the Senate bill was received, and how the bill was roundly defeated in the Senate due to vigorous opposition? The election of Billary or Obama means nothing to the illegal alien aiders and abetters unless they have Congress on their side. The Dem’s still need a 60 percent majority to pass the so-called comprehensive immigration bill. While the Rep’s failed to make illegal immigration a deciding issue in the primaries, it doesn’t mean that po-amnestas have the general support of the American people. Barring a large majority of Americans supporting amnestas, which doesn’t exist at this stage, we can expect the status quo on the issue of immigration. The score still remains amnestas zero and law abiding citizens one. With the states enacting anti-illegal immigration law, and the federal government doing nothing, time is on the side of the anti-illegal immigrant faction of our country.

  26. S.Immanuel said:

    RATHER THEN BRINGING DISEASE, NEW IMMIGRANTS ARE HEALTHIER THAN NATIVE-BORN POPULATION IN ALMOST EVERY MEASURE.
    Its right. But who is the right to find out the apt herb which one is raised by or God & Lord Jesus Christ to cure the Diabates or to boost the secretion of Insulin ?
    But it may be in India.

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