Crime and Punishment Immigration

Who Would Jesus Deport?


Ah, we can all be so proud of ourselves now.
Got her! We have arrested Elvira Arellano. She was deported this morning. We are enforcing the law. Cool.

Of late, Elvira Arellano
has become a symbol of sorts for the struggle for better immigration law. For those who’ve not followed the story, she is a 32-year-old woman who, for the past year, has been living in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, an act of civil disobedience undertaken, in part, to gain a better future for her 8-year-old son, but also to focus attention on the need for immigration reform.

The Chicago church declared itself a sanctuary, in much the same way as La Placita and Delores Mission Church in Los Angeles declared themselves sanctuaries in the ’80’s, led by Father Luis Olivares, Father Mike Kennedy, and Father Greg Boyle. Recently, Arellano had come to LA and was staying at La Placita, or as it is more formally known, Our Lady Queen of Angels.

Elvira’s grandfather came to the U.S
. during the bracero program, but went home to Mexico. She came at age 23, when her parents were both sick and unable to work. Her father had muscular dystrophy, her mother had diabetes. She felt she had to somehow do something to support the family. So she broke the law, came across with a coyote at Calexico.

It is has a sad symmetry that Elvira Arellano was arrested right outside La Placita in Olvera Street, the church that some regard as the spiritual birthplace of Los Angeles.

Here’s the LA Times story, and the impassioned take from the LA Weekly’s Daniel Hernandez, on his blog, Intersections. Hernandez has a lot of good links for this who wish to read further.

By the way, in the past year, 12 congregations in Los Angeles County — churches and synagogues — have declared themselves sanctuaries.

Who would Jesus deport?


  • Sorry, Celeste, but she’s no martyr and shouldn’t be turned into a hero. She started sneaking into the country in 1997, first to Washington State, and was deported in 2000. This is her fourth illegal entry and deportation to the U S. She is a never-wed mother, and some see her son as an “anchor baby,” a child she had to claim the right to stay in the U. S.

    She is now using her son to gain sympathy, and says she left him behind in the U. S. because he has ADD, and can receive better treatment in the U. S. for it. (Plus, he’ll serve as her main pretext to coming back.) I’m sure his nervous condition hasn’t been helped by the liftestyle she’s forced on him: spending the last year locked into a church, “not even going out to the laundromat,” per a Sanctuary Movement spokesperson on Warren Olney’s Which Way L. A. Her flaunting her illegal status was an arrest waiting to happen and if her son is traumatized, it’s her fault.

    None of the blogs have been favorable to her, from LAist to the LAT to others both fringe and relatively liberal. The consensus, which I agree with, is she should have followed the law like everyone else. There are plenty of people from China to Cambodia who would like to just come to the U. S. illegally, and become martyrs.

    As for Olvera Street being the birth of Los Angeles, American Indians beg to differ. Some have told me they’re outraged at the way the Mexicans twist their claims to California and Aztlan, when it was the Spanish/Mexican priests and landowners who came and enslaved the Indians and took their land. Mexicans are as welcome in the country as anyone else, on the same terms: no more, no less.

  • Maggie, I’m not going to argue the Arellano case because she is straight stupid and dumb for leaving Chicago and coming to LA.
    Someone should have told her ass that ICE has jurisdictions too. Just because someone in Chicago gave a red light on deportation doesn’t mean it will fly out here in LA.

    But Maggie, on your California History, please, please, please read history PLEASE. Get you people and facts straight, PLEASE!!!!!!
    Take a good history course Maggie, PLEEEEEEEEASSSE!!!
    Your disappointing me, I held you at a higher standard!

  • Sorry, Poplock, but a number of Indians have told me how they felt about the Mexicans usurping them as the natives, including a Chumash walking guide I had at the Chumash Indian Center in Thousand Oaks. And when I had my road tour around the western states a few years ago, the local guides at some of the old missions told me the same thing. I recall your blaming the white people for killing off the Indians, and they did their share too — much later. But it was the Spanish/ Mexican priests, landowners and settlers who forced them into labor first, and gave them diseases they didn’t have immunity for. So if you want to share the blame on who mistreated the Indians, that’s fine — but they were the only original Californians/ Westerners.

  • If Jesus had a job in U.S. Immigration (I can’t believe that we’re discussing this), he would fulfill the duties with which he was charged–which includes deporting illegals.

    I’m sick and tired of this. If liberals feel so strongly about the welfare of Mexicans, then let them take their own money to support them rather than the money of U.S. workers who must take lower wages to compete and taxpayers who support the social programs used by illegals. But, no. Liberals are compassionate with other people’s money, and most are too stupid to grasp that concept.

  • There were no such thing as a “Spanish/Mexican” priest in Mexico or in Alta California. They were almost all exculusively Franciscan Spanish priest brought over from Europe. The Mexican Indians were the first to be wiped-out with diseases. The Franciscans refused to teach the Native Mexicans the Spanish language. Not until almost one-hundred years later, did they start creating schools to teach the Spanish language to the Mexican native indians. The Franciscans attempted to guard and protect the Mexican Indians from Europe’s “sinners” and the corruption of the “devil’s ways”.

    You know I’m not even going to go into giving you a detail history lesson. ….this is bullcrap. I thought you were a litte bit more educated and a well rounded person in history.

  • I’m not going to keep arguing this side issue with you, but my point was just to rebut the notion that the place Arellano was arrested, La Placita church on Olvera Street, “which some regard as the spiritual birthplace of Los Angeles,” was ironic because it was the first Mexican Spanish church in Los Angeles and hence, a place where it was implied, she belonged. You’re right that the Franciscans came over from Spain in the 16th-C and wiped out the Indian “religions” with their religion and disease (although after visiting places like Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan, with their ball games and ritual disembowling, I can’t exactly think the old “religions” were worth saving). But the priests established themselves down in Mexcio before making their way up north starting in the 18th C (I can’t think of any older missions than that, but maybe you know of some from the 17th?) to establish missions, which they made the Indians build under harsh conditions to “save their souls,” so I called them Spanish/Mexicans — rather awkwardly, I admit.

  • Want to see stupidity?

    “In arguing against deporting convicted criminal Elvira Arellano, (Democratic Strategist) Kirsten Powers said that she believes that people – all people — have a ‘human right’ to live in the United States.”

  • My ancestors lived in France just 250 years ago. In fact I have relatives who share my last name who still live in Paris.

    I wonder how my protests would go over in France after being deported, convicted of using false ID, re-entering the county illegally, then hid out in a church, then starting carrying signs and protesting with an outstanding warrant for my arrest.

    Get over it Poplock. We all have relatives everywhere, and you are an American. Defending her side because of the color of her skin is raciest. Would you feel the same way if she were black and from Mexico?

    She is an Illegal who broke into your county without permission because of her desire for better money and better (free) healthcare for her child. She no doubt already received free medical care for here for the birth of her fatherless (unknown father) child and would like to continue with the free care for her (citizen) child in the USA.

  • I heard somebody make the interesting point that illegal immigration is the only misdemeanor offense for which we seperate parents and children. Obviously the seperation isn’t entirely forced, but the consequences of illegal entry can be pretty severe considering the benign nature of the crime (even those of you who hate illegal immigrants should recognize you’d rather live next door to them then almost any other kind of lawbreaker).

  • Who would Jesus deport?

    Didn’t Jesus ostensibly say, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s…”? That is, let government do its job without interference from the religious end? (See New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 3d. Ed., 2002 — “Keep politics separate from certain other fields, such as religion.”) Assuming Jesus was serious about this, he presumably would have acquiesced in the deportation, on the premise that spiritual leaders should keep their noses out of it.

  • Mavis says, “illegal immigration is the only misdemeanor offense for which we seperate [sic] parents and children.”

    Oh, come on. She DECIDED to leave her son in the US; she could just as easily have decided to take him to Mexico. “We” did not separate them; SHE did.

  • His Catholic Majesty Carlos III of Spain, worried about Russian and British colonial activities in Oregon and Alta California’s northern regions, ordered the Viceroy in Mexico City to establish a Spanish foothold in the later. So in 1769 a joint religious/military task force under the leadership of Fr J. Serra and Capt G. De Portola established the first of what would grow to 31 missions at San Diego de Alcala. De Portola and Fr. J. Crespi then proceded on an expedition to the north to see what was here and would eventually be the first Europeans to see the Great bay which they arrived at on the Feast day of St. Francis. No points for what they named it.

    And that’s enough history for today.

  • Woody Wood Peaker- Which Blog are you on dude? Are you on some good dope? When did I make a statement on defending her?
    In matter of fact, I called her stupid and super dumb for travelling for leaving Chicago. When did the issue of skin color ever come into this exchange?

    For your information, Mexico and many latin American Countries have blacks who are NOT treated or discriminated against like in the U.S. or worst places like-Cuba. Go open a book and learn about Mexico’s Veracruzan culture. Even if your an American Black who decides to go down and retire in Mexico, they love you for loving them.
    California Prisons and our American culture is what teaches all these gang members the whole concept of racism and hate.
    Just the other day, I chit chatted with a very beautiful black women from the Washington DC area. After a long day at a conference, I invited her to eat dinner with all my Californian friends. No surprise to me, we found out that she is Venazuelan and spoke fluent Spanish (even better than me). I was very proud of both her latina and Black heritage. I asked her on her thoughts of racism in America. She agreed that America bases everything on skin color and its upsetting that you can not go anywere without someone giving you a negative look or treatment. She further stated that in her country American type of racism or prejudices will commonly exist among the wealthy and politicians – but not to the everyday levels that Americans take it.

    Your French example is really worthless. Aside from letting terrorist run amok, France has no problem on providing nuclear technology to our enemies.

    Oh yeah, one more thing, “GLENN MURPHY JR?”

  • “When did the issue of skin color ever come into this exchange?”

    Sorry if you felt insulted, I could have phrased that better.

    I was trying to express my frustration that there are millions of Africans, who want desperately to come to the USA, despite of any discrimination that they may have to deal with? But all we hear about is the poor Hispanic who wants to come here.

    My Tanzanian friends waited years to get here legally.

  • I wonder if Jesus would rob and then deport the poor Central Americans caught in Mexico as the try to reach the United States I also wonder if Elvira Arellano will also fight for the rights of the poor Central American immigrant.

    And the story by Daniel Hernandez is worse than this one, he refers to the terrorizing of illegal aliens by ICE agents because of their raids. What planet does that num-nuts live in. I think he needs to visit the Westlake district, Echo Park, East L.A. and etc. I have not seen the green buses stopping people on the streets and then throwing them into the green bus. I am sure everybody at the next Vicente Fernandez concert will be enjoying the music and not worried about the terrorizing raids of INS/ICE.

    Let that num-nuts Daniel Hernandez talk to any person from Central America caught by Mexican Immigration if he wants to learn about terrorizing immigration agents. I can’t believe that sappy story was published in the L.A. Weekly that read more like a Mecha newsletter. I thought Daniel was writing a story about his abuelita or Tia.

    You have some good information on this blog but this idea of painting Elvira as some sort of Mother Theresa id ridiculous. She and many others have to wait in the immigration like just like everybody else.

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