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Saul Arellano's Mother Is Deported to Mexico

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Saul Arellano may be one of the most well-known schoolchildren in the United States whose mother has been deported. Saul's mother, Elvira Arellano, 32, is an undocumented immigrant who lived in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago for a year to avoid being deported and separated from her son, who is 8 and a U.S. citizen. The boy participated in rallies and met with Washington politicians and Mexican officials in a campaign to try to persuade U.S. immigration authorities to let his mother stay in the United States, according to a May 8 interview with the boy by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Associated Press reports today that Ms. Arellano was arrested yesterday in Los Angeles after she left the church in Chicago to speak about immigration reform. She was deported to Mexico, according to an Aug. 20 press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

I've met a boy in rural Virginia who has lived with foster parents since his father was deported to El Salvador. I've had conversations this past school year with a teenager in New York City who has been raised by older siblings since her parents were deported to Mexico more than four years ago.

For now, Saul has been left behind in the United States. I'm curious to hear more about who will take care of him here and support him as he starts a new school year.

8 Comments

I hope Saul will be well cared for, but his mother chose to abandon him here, so ultimately she is the one responsible. I wonder how he feels knowing his mother intentionally left him behind (and please spare me from "it is better for him" because it is not better for Saul to be in the US without his mother than in Mexico with her--her choice). Just like she was reponsible for giving birth to him here in the United States after re-entering illegally for the second time. In her ten years here, she does not speak English. All of her interviews have been in Spanish and had to be translated. The parents of these children are to be blamed, not the US government.

To CP Brooks: I don't know if you've been to the state of Michoacan where Ms. Arellano is from, but it is not replete with jobs and many, many live in high poverty. Saul is with the Lozano family; Mrs. Lozano is the widow of slain Chicago activist Rudy Lozano, who was highly respected as a community organizer and family man. His wife has taken up his work with great skill. Saul is in good hands, and I am confident his mother will be back soon--she will die of hunger in México otherwise. As for knowing English, most ESL classes in the United States have a waiting list to get in, most have substandard instructors with little or no background in ESL, and most individuals who would like to attend cannot because of the long work hours. In NC, for instance, the county I live in, ESL classes are not leveled, so regardless of your level of literacy and level of English-language knowledge, you are placed in one generic class for all learners with an unskilled instructor. For these reasons, I am not alarmed that she did not conduct her interviews in English--I am much more alarmed by the fact that 58% to 87% of U.S. fourth graders are 'below proficient' in reading skills as cited by NAEP (2005).

cpbrooks claims: "it is not better for Saul to be in the US without his mother than in Mexico with her."

How do you know which situation is better for Saul? Even if you had total and complete information about both places and the people he would be with, it's still impossible to know the end result of either situation. Furthermore, the very fact that she has CHOSEN to come in the first place, and a second time, by crossing the border into a country where she doesn't speak the language in order to be in the US and give birth to her son in the United States suggests that this might just be a better situation for him with better opportunities in the long run. I'm not here to argue whether or not she should be deported, but just that the situation itself indicates that her choice to leave her son in his country of citizenship might be the 'better' choice for him.

I do note your point that the decisions of the mother led to her separation from her child in addition to the laws of the US government. But, the US government does play a considerable role and not just as a faceless agency that must follow it's own laws. The consequences of our immigration laws to our young citizens, and how this will affect our communities, should be a considerations as our representatives in the government write and adapt the laws.

If the wealthiest and most advanced country in the world cannot find a solution to this issue but by search, disrupt, and deport then we have bigger problems as a cilized society. I haven't experienced this type of bigotry since visting Louisiana in the 60's, where a black man would be shot for entering a white establishment. Blacks, Jews, and "undocumented aliens", are not criminals because someone decides they are. What government agencies are doing is morally wrong. Get it together America what do we stand for.

Our founding fathers knew that there are times when the laws are so unjust they must be opposed. When families risk death and separation to cross borders in search of a better life there must be extremely compelling reasons for them to do so. The question to ask is what role our country's policies have played in creating the unlivable conditions that generate the waves of undocumented refugees? (e.g., NAFTA)

These people are victimized in their home countries where they are deprived of opportunities for a decent life for them and their children, and then punished again for violating an unjust immigration law.

We will not see a stemming of the immigration tide until real opportunities for decent living conditions are created for them back home.

Make no mistake about it...what Saul's mother chose to do twice was illegal...a crime. She wilfully chose to disrespect our laws, our government and our customs. No matter how compelling the reasons behind her decision, she still committed a crime.

A mother who chooses to turn tricks or sell drugs in order to support her children would also have a compelling reason for doing so... would you allow her not to go to prison in order to stay with her children? What if the drugs that mother sold killed your child? Would you still allow her to remain free?

Saul's mother has taught him that laws do not have to be followed and that he does not have to respect the United States or its people. She has made the decision to risk separation from her son. For her to use emotional black-mail is tantamount to crocodile-tears. Her own country would be much less forgiving should an American mother illegally immigrate across their border.

Mexico is a rich and wealthy country with many many many natural resources. They are an exporter of oil and a global manufacturer. Saul will enjoy living in his true homeland (no birthright citizenship) and will be quite successful.

Ten years in the United States and she STILL didn't speak any English? WTF has she been doing with herself? She doesn't need ESL classes or tutoring to learn the basics. If she had any smarts about her at all, she could have learned that much just from watching television or reading newspapers. Most major publications have parallel English and Spanish versions. She could have taught herself English grammar by reading the two side by side as I have to teach myself Spanish. She is just lazy. Couple that with the stupid decision that she made first to come here illegally, then to have a child here, then to continue to violate our laws and finally to use that child as a way to escape the consequences of her mistakes-- the biggest one here being Saul himself-- and it's obvious that this woman is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. It's well that she has been deported. We don't need that kind of idiocy in our population. We have enough criminals, lazy cusses and just-plain-dumb stiffs born here legally. We don't need to import any more.

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