On Thursday March 27, 2014, the Shiller Preyar team gathered with immigration rights organizations La Familia Latina Unida, the #BringThemHome campaign, and others for a rally and march in support of Elivra Arellano. The event aimed to bring publicity to the recent act of civil disobedience she undertook with about thirty other undocumented children, mothers, and fathers who crossed the U.S./Mexico border to reunite with their families in the United States.
Our own attorney Chris Bergin has been part of the La Familia Latina Unida family for almost twenty years, and has represented and worked with Elvira for many years.
In 2007 Elivra was deported after taking refuge in the United Methodist Church in Humboldt Park for nearly a year. While residing in the church, and while living in Mexico, Elvira has long been a staunch supporter of immigration reform. The act of crossing the border is always risky from a legal standpoint because those who have been deported after being in the US illegally are barred from reentry for ten years under penalty of prison time. Indeed, when Arellano and her colleagues presented themselves to US Border Patrol, they were taken into custody. Elvira was released and is on parole—likely, as Bergin suggested, because of her high-profile status as an activist.
The rally began with speakers from the community, including Elvira, who asserted immigration rights are civil rights and put pressure on Obama to use his executive authority to stop ICE deportations. Rally-goers then marched from the Federal Plaza to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the event concluded with a vigil to honor those who are currently held in immigration detention facilities nation-wide.
Elvira is currently awaiting the announcement of her next court date. She plans to argue for political asylum based on the political work she has done in Mexico on behalf of Central American immigrants.
Here at Shiller Preyar we are excited for Elvira’s return to her home of Chicago, and we look forward to helping her secure stable residence for herself and for her family. We will keep you posted as her case develops.
*photo from Flickr/Steve Pavey