Saturday, May 19, 2007

Women Raise Heat on Immigration Debate

Women Raise Heat on Immigration Debate by Cynthia L. Cooper; WOMENSENEWS; May 19, 2007

In preparation for the march for immigrant rights that drew tens of thousands to Chicago's streets on May 1, 2007, Anita Rico stenciled T-shirts with the face of the woman who most inspires her: Elvira Arellano. Since last August Arellano, an undocumented immigrant, has been holed up in a small Chicago church with her U.S.-born 8-year-old son Saul to avoid an order of deportation back to Mexico.

"She gave a face to the crisis that is going on," said Rico, a youth coordinator at Centro Sin Fronteras, a community advocacy group in Chicago. "The way the government is treating people, especially women, is very inhumane. She's taking a stance. It's how Rosa Parks took a stance. We're literally turning the pages of history." Arellano, named one of the People Who Mattered in 2006 by Time magazine, co-founded the Chicago-based United Latino Family, which lobbies to keep together U.S.-born children and undocumented parents. Before taking sanctuary, she spoke from the podium at an immigration reform march in Chicago. Arellano's recognition level was so high during the 2006 elections that photos of her and Saul were used to get out the Latino vote.

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