Water Cooler Chat With A Conscience

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Fate of Saulito Arellano

This morning, Elvira Arellano of Chicago, IL was arrested in Los Angeles,CA after speaking with the media about her pending deportation. For the last year, she and her 7 year old son, Saul have taken refuge at a church in Chicago, affectionately known as "The Sanctuary". Now, Elvira was an undocumented person living in the United States, however her son was born here, making him an American citizen. Elvira was a productive member of society, working and sending her son to school. Never had any criminal trouble - until the government realized she was working under a false social security number (which is a crime), and tried immediately to deport her. Elvira, fearing the worst for her child if she allowed the U.S. to deport her, took refuge at the Sanctuary and remained in hiding for the past year, until just recently when she took her fight to California to urge all undocumented peoples living in CA to go to their senators and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and persuade them to put the Immigration Reform Bill back on the floor. Knowing full well that she would be arrested shortly after her news conference, she got in a van with her son and some others and made her way to a California church. Soon enough they realized they were being followed and pulled their van over. Border Patrol and police swarmed the van, ordered her out of the car and consequently her son, frightened beyond measure began to cry. She begged the police to let her have a last moment with her son. They granted her the last moment, she kissed him, told him not to be afraid, they couldn't hurt her or break her, gave him his bendiciones (blessings), and was then removed from the van, handcuffed, and placed in the back of a squad car.

Here is my question....which is more costly to the country - keeping a child in foster care, or granting someone citizenship so they can become a legal member of society? And with the child, it's not just the cost of foster care that must now be taken into account, but also the cost of counseling this child will most likely need to undergo due to being exposed to such a traumatizing event. And let's just really play the other side and say he's not at all resilient and chooses a life of crime to deal with his anger and angst...then there are the legal fees incurred, and possibly the tax payer dollars that will have to be spent if he should have to go to prison. Now, I'm no mathmetician...I barely passed College Algebra (no really, I'm not kidding...I was ecstatic to get a "C")...but I do believe that all of that combined will cost TONS more than just allowing her to obtain a work visa, or grant citizenship.

I don't know...maybe it's the social worker in me...my girlfriend m* says that I have a bleeding heart...but it just doesn't seem right to tear a family apart based on a technicality....If they send the child to Mexico with his mother he's then considered an undocumented person in Mexico...but they can't allow her to stay here b/c she's an undocumented person in the States...so they send her back and leave the child here, motherless....ummmm...yeah...that just doesn't seem right to me...my heart and prayers go out to Saulito Arellano....

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