Elvira Arellano, who was deported in 2007, re-entered the country
at San Diego with her two children, Saul, 15, and Emiliano, 4
months, said National Immigrant Youth Association organizer Dulce
Guerrero. She was taken into detention by U.S. Customs and Border
Protection officials, Guerrero said.
Arellano, 38, led a group of dozens of mostly young, undocumented
adults raised in the United States but sent back to Mexico over the
border in an ongoing protest of the plight of immigrants deported to
in a sometimes violent country where they feel like strangers.
Organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, the San Diego
border crossing that began last week is the third in a campaign that
began last July and has included journeys into Texas and Arizona.
The participants are mostly in their 20s and say they would have
been protected in the United States and allowed to attend college
with in-state tuition fees had Congress passed the 2010 Dream Act
protecting undocumented youths brought to the country as children.
Most were seeking asylum, citing fear of violence in Mexico, but the
group that crossed on Tuesday asked for humanitarian parole, or
temporary permission to remain in the country for compassionate
reasons, Guerrero said.
"There are 80 adults and 50 kids who've turned themselves over to
the U.S. government," Guerrero said.
[to top of second column]
In 2007, Arellano drew national attention and was named a person of
the year by Time magazine for staying within the cramped walls of
the storefront Adalberto United Methodist Church for one year,
invoking the traditional protection of sanctuary.
With Saul, then 8, she eventually departed the safety of the church
to participate in a march for immigration reform, and was eventually
deported to Mexico.
Arellano entered the United States illegally in 1997, was returned
to Mexico, then recrossed the border and was working a menial job at
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2002 when she was arrested
in an immigration sweep. She was convicted of working under a false
Social Security number and, after several delays, was ordered
(Writing by Sharon Bernstein)
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