Erica Werner, Associated Press, September 12, 2007
An 8-year-old boy whose mother was deported to Mexico led a chanting crowd of about 150 pro-immigration activists through the halls of Congress on Wednesday. Capitol Police arrested two demonstrators for disorderly conduct.
Saul Arellano and other children carried a banner that read: “Born in the USA. Don’t take our moms and dads away.”
The boy’s mother, Elvira Arellano, was deported last month after taking refuge in a Chicago church for a year.
In Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from San Diego, Elvira Arellano spoke about her son to several dozen demonstrators. Saul was scheduled to join her there Thursday.
In Washington, activists clashed with police outside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, chanting and shouting for her to lead on immigration reform. Saul appeared to get enveloped in the shoving crowd.
Demonstrators taped two oversize letters to Pelosi’s door—one in English and one in Spanish—warning her, “If Democrats expect our support in the next election, the Democrats must support us now.”
Immigration reform legislation died in Congress this year and isn’t expected to be revived anytime soon. Pelosi, D-Calif., was in Oregon on Wednesday for a forum on global warming.
The crowd went to Pelosi’s office after a news conference where they prayed, denounced deportations and broke into chants of “Si, se puede!” or “Yes, we can!”
The boy, wearing baggy jeans and a striped shirt and looking distracted, then joined other children at the front of an unruly procession through the halls and basements of two House office buildings. Behind him someone carried an icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe and two others held large flags, one Mexican and one Puerto Rican. At one point, a child hesitated to board an escalator, creating a bottleneck.
Protesters left the Cannon House Office Building after police threatened more arrests.
Elvira Arellano was in the U.S. illegally for several years before taking sanctuary at Chicago’s Adalberto United Methodist Church, where she lived with her son for a year in defiance of a deportation order.