Immigration activist returns, protests family separation - FOX 35 News Orlando

Immigration activist Arellano returns, protests family separation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Mexican immigration activist who sought refuge from deportation in a Chicago church is back in the city.

After eight years, Elvira Arellano has returned to Chicago to protest the separation of families through deportation.

The immigration activist made national headlines in 2006, when she sought refuge inside of a Humboldt Park church for a year. 

Arellano was deported in 2007, after she was convicted of social security fraud while living in the United States undocumented.

Arellano and her family were among more than 100 people who crossed the border from Mexico into San Diego seeking asylum.

She is on parole now, living in Adalberto United Methodist Church and awaiting a court appearance by September. But this time, she's not confined to the church.

Arellano was released from U.S. custody Thursday as she sought to seek permission to enter the country without legal documents. The Rev. Walter Coleman said Sunday that Arellano is taking stock before an April hearing when she'll make her case before an immigration judge.

Arellano is with her sons Saulito and Emiliano, a U.S. citizen teenager and a Mexico-born baby, respectively.

They are protesting what they call failed immigration policies here in the U.S. Arellano wants President Barack Obama to extend deferments he gave to DREAM Act children and parents of U.S. citizen children.

"We're fighting for their freedom," Arellano said in Spanish, "so they can return home immediately."

Many of the families Arellano fights for are undocumented parents who have U.S. born children. When their parents are deported, the families are often torn apart.

Arellano wants to be able to live here with both of her sons - something opponents say shouldn't be possible.

They did not climb over a fence, they didn't go through a tunnel, they didn't go through the mountains or run from the 'migra,' none of that," Pastor Emma Lozano told FOX 32 News. "They went straight with their heads held high with their children at their sides to confront a broken law that was promised to them and they've all been victims to the destruction of that law."

FOX 32 attempted to reach out to the Chicago Minutemen for comment on this story. They were not available.

Arellano said come September, if a judge decides to send her back to Mexico, she won't fight it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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