Elvira Arellano, a Mexican civil rights activist, illegally crossed the border into the US on Tuesday to seek refuge on humanitarian grounds.
Originally deported from the country having spent a year taking refuge in a church in Chicago in 2007, Sra. Arellano entered the USA at the Otay Mesa border crossing, accompanied by her US born sons and several other previously deported mothers, also with their US born children.
Over the past nine days the National Immigration Youth Alliance (NIYA) has assisted three other similar groups to illegally enter the US at the Tijuana/San Diego crossing. This organization, along with a number of others, is petitioning for the deportation of immigrants to be halted and for the urgent reform of existing immigration laws. It is also seeking to persuade law-makers to introduce new legislation to prevent the families of illegal immigrants from being split up. Currently, if a child is born in the US he or she is automatically treated as being a legal USA citizen, while one or other or both parents can be deported.
This is precisely the situation Arellano and other members of the NIYA have found themselves in. Shortly before making the crossing she said: “I know I’m risking my freedom and being with my children because I could go to prison,” adding that she was prepared to fight to be with her children.”
Whilst living in Mexico, several members of the immigrant groups claimed to have been threatened and cheated out of money by organized criminal gangs. For this reason, they are claiming asylum or asking for visas on humanitarian grounds.