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“Elvira, our sister, the people are with you!”

by Abdi Maya and Stephanie Weiner |
August 26, 2007
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Poster depicting boy with missing mother.
(Fight Back! News)

Chicago, IL - A hundred supporters of Elvira Arellano and her son Saul gathered here, Aug. 19, in the pouring rain outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building. They were protesting the arrest and detention of Elvira earlier that day in Los Angeles. At a 10:00 p.m. emergency press conference, they demanded her freedom and to know her current location and status.

Arellano had been in sanctuary in Chicago for over a year, refusing to be deported or separated from her son. In addition to support for Elvira Arellano and Saul, the crowd chanted support for amnesty and legalization for all 12 million undocumented immigrants. Speakers urged an end to deportations and especially for the need to keep families united.

The demonstration was another clear example of how this courageous family has become the symbol of the powerful immigration movement. Many people brought their children out to the event and one of the speakers was crying because of her intense connection to the family. This connection brought everyone to chant, “¡Elvira, hermana, el pueblo está contigo!” (“Elvira, our sister, the people are with you!”) People left at 10:45 in order to go home and spread the word about the next day’s protest.