The National Organization for Women (NOW) is urging its members to speak out against the recent deportation of immigrant rights activist Elvira Arellano, president of La Familia Latina Unida (United Latino Family). La Familia lobbies on behalf of families that could be split up because of deportation.
Arellano, an undocumented worker who took refuge in a Chicago church last August to prevent being separated from her U.S.-born son, was deported to Mexico after she left the church in order to lobby House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for fair and comprehensive immigration reform. Arellano’s case represents one of many in which mothers are being separated from their children and deported without any consideration being for the rights and needs of their minor children who are U.S. citizens.
“It is an outrage that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), in a deplorable operation called ‘Return to Sender’ is violating the rights of U.S. born children and placing their well-being in jeopardy. In a cold-hearted and punitive manner, ICE ignores pleas from mothers and fathers who have lived, worked, paid taxes and formed families in this country not to be separated from their dependent children,” says Olga Vives, Executive Vice President of NOW.
NOW’s response to the Arellano case is part of the organization’s larger call for an immediate moratorium on the immigration raids and deportation that have been devastating families and communities across the United States, and our call for the U.S. government to pass real immigration reform. Fair reform must address many issues, including a way to afford families like the Arellanos, with U.S.-born children, a path to legalization, residency and citizenship.
NOW recognizes the contributions of immigrant women and encourages equitable and fair immigration policies that provide legal and safe immigration options, a path to citizenship, reproductive freedom and economic justice, and urges Congress to enact real, just and humane immigration reform legislation.
NOW Executive Vice President Olga Vives is available for comment on the Arellano case and other issues related to immigrant women’s rights in the U.S.