Berthing anchor babies
By Dimitri Vassilaros
Monday, May 7, 2007
Saul Arellano is an 8-year-old anchor baby. The American-born son of an illegal alien from Mexico also is the poster child for the stunningly disingenuous arguments of advocates for illegals. His mom — holed up in a storefront church in Chicago claiming “sanctuary” so the feds don't deport her, again — is better at double talk than English.
A few days ago I spoke by phone with Elvira Arellano, 32, through her interpreter, Beti Guevara, an associate pastor at the Aldalberto United Methodist Church where Ms. Arellano and son have lived since August.
“Saulito (Little Saul) is an American citizen,” says Arellano. “He has the right to stay in his own country. Being his mom, I have the right to stay here and take care of him.”
The term “anchor baby” refers to children born in the U.S. whose parents are not citizens. Since the baby automatically is considered an American citizen, that's how an alien parent could drop anchor to berth in the child's homeland.
“For all the people that say he is an anchor, those are people who have hate, anger and are racist,” she says. But she won't say anything about her child's father.
“First of all, Saulito is a child of God. This country belongs to God. If Saulito was 18 years old, I could leave but right now he can't leave his mother. He needs her in this country.”
If she is deported, she says it will break up her two-person family.
And that would mean the state of Illinois no longer would provide health care for Saul, who she says sees a psychologist every week and has a hyperactive disorder. He gets A's and B's in his public school but is afraid of authority figures, mom says.
However, Saulito wasn't even a gleam in anyone's eye when Arellano first was deported from the U.S. in 1997 after attempting to cross the U.S. border with fraudulent identity documents, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
The agency alleges that she illegally re-entered the U.S. and was arrested again in 2002 while working, illegally, at O'Hare International Airport under a false Social Security number. She was convicted in federal district court of Social Security fraud and then ordered deported again.
She refused to leave and now is one of roughly 600,000 immigration fugitives living here illegally after having been ordered out.
Since “sanctuary” has no legal basis in this country, ICE says it has the authority to arrest illegal aliens in all locales. But the agency won't say what, if anything, it plans to do about Arellano. It's a Mexican standoff.
Arellano is president of United Latino Family, which claims to lobby for families facing schism by deportation. The Los Angeles-based New Sanctuary Movement credits L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony for awakening the public and legislators to the moral and human dimensions of immigration and effectively changing the terms of the public debate, according to the California Catholic Daily.
But is there even one American standing in the way of an alien family leaving intact to return to its country of origin?
Deportation threatens unity only when a foreigner would rather be here illegally than back home preserving his family. Many Americans believe in traditional family values. It's too bad more illegals don't.
Dimitri Vassilaros is a Trib editorial page columnist. His column appears Sundays, Mondays and Fridays. Call him at 412-380-5637. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.