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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Human Rights > Immigrant Mom in Sanctuary Goes on Hunger Strike

Immigrant Mom in Sanctuary Goes on Hunger Strike

LatinaLista — There are over 3 million children who are caught squarely in the middle of this immigration debate.

These children are U.S. citizens but at least one of their parents is not.

Saul Arrellano is one of these children.

Saulito’s mother is Elvira who is fighting with every ounce of her petite physique to stay here in the United States with her son.


Elvira Arrellano and son Saul
(Source: nationalfastforimmigranjustice)

For the past seven months, she has claimed sanctuary in a Chicago-area Methodist Church. So far, government officials have not dared enter the Church lest they be blamed for instigating violence and extreme force against an unarmed single mom.

Though Congress has finally started the wheels turning on consideration of an immigration reform bill, the ICE raids are turning their wheels faster.

It doesn’t matter if state governors
condemn the raids and label them as causing “humanitarian crisis.”

There is an agenda being carried out by Homeland Security but someone has the authority to stop it until Congress passes a bill that once and for all spells out exactly what can and can’t be done when it comes to undocumented parents with US-born children.

But some of the undocumented parents’ patience is stretched thin with Congress refusing to halt the raids as they continue to take their time with the issue.

Elvira is one such parent that is tired of waiting for Congress to recognize that separating families as the ICE raids do is a preventable inhumane act.

So, she’s decided to do something that she probably should not do — she’s going on a hunger strike starting tomorrow, Good Friday.

Recent pictures of Elvira show a woman who doesn’t look any more rested than when her ordeal began. The bags under her eyes and her already thin frame underlie the point that any amount of time going without food could lead to serious medical problems for her.

But who can blame her for doing this. It was never her intention to live her life behind the closed doors of a church, never leaving – never enjoying life with her son.

All Elvira ever did was pick up other people’s trash and clean dirty bathrooms at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. A job that we’re supposed to believe there would be waiting lists for even if the pay was top-dollar.

The hunger strike will probably only get Elvira attention if she does fall ill, but unfortunately, it’s unlikely anyone in Washington will pay much attention.

And that’s the whole problem.

Ever since Congressional representatives returned to Washington from their summer “fact-finding” missions they’ve been more interested in paying attention to other parts of the world rather than their own backyard.

It’s obviously going to take something more dramatic than half a million people marching in the streets to get their attention.

Hopefully, it won’t have to be the sight of a woman weak with hunger fighting to give her son the birthright that his is — with her at his side.

The press release announcing Elvira’s hunger strike reads as follows:

Elvira Arellano and her pastor Rev. Coleman will begin their first day on Hunger Strike and will send off supporters who will demonstrate in front of I.C.E. Offices this Good Friday Morning. The Procession includes “mock Immigration Officers” instead of Romans and The Cross Carried by Jesus will signify the struggle of the undocumented. The demands remain clear “Moratorium to End the Raids and Deportations”, “Legalization for All”, “Stop Family Separation”.

Update: The following statement was sent to Latina Lista on behalf of Elvira Arrellano:

“As I have stayed here in Sanctuary with my U.S. citizen son Saulito for seven months, the Congress and the President have taken no action to fix the broken law. Meanwhile, millions of people live in the shadows and millions of children live in fear of being abandoned. While nothing is done to fix the broken law, the raids and deportations continue to escalate every week..

“I am starting this hunger strike, on the eve of Good Friday, as a prayer that our people will mobilize, that the hearts of the people of this nation will open and that the elected officials will act to preserve our families and the Holy Bond between the children and their mothers and fathers. I pray that not one more family will be separated, not one more child left behind.”

Elvira Arellano

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