Chicago Sun-Times
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Arellano Is No Rosa Parks

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Elvria Arellano is the illegal immigrant who has chosen to live in a cramped storefront church rather than face deportation to Mexico.

Besides being here illegally, Arellano, who is a single mother, was caught using someone else's Social Security number. While I empathize with her plight, Arellano is using icons of the civil rights movement--first Rosa Parks, but now also Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X--to justify her decision to break immigration laws.

That's just wrong --for a lot of reasons.

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Hi Mary, I'm extermly eleated you responed to this non-sense statement this lady Arellano made regarding being Rosa Parks. This is very upseting that everyone wants to use the civil rights struggle to have people identify with thier personal causes. Thanks again, Cassius M. Williams

Mary, now you know what a white person faces ALL THE TIME if they have a different opinion, no matter how innocent, on an issue than the political-correct police or activists have. How did you like being told what a racist you are in some of the feedback from her supporters? As for her situation, can't you understand why the Durbins, Gutierrez's, etc. back her and feed her with this Rosa Parks comparison which is an insult to Ms. Parks legacy? Its because they put possible votes for themselves and their party ahead of the country.



Great article, Mary. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

You said, “Arellano is not a victim of an unjust system�.

How about this take:

Our government (since inception and currently) has oppressed countries around the world and exploited them in the name of capitalism. Our markets are strong, American business’ thrive…but how do you think we got to this point?

Howard Zinn points out that the main job the U.S. government (since inception) has given itself is to make sure other countries have governments in place that will do business with American Corporations. In a series of steps, that leads those countries on the road to oppression.

Further, to solve this problem, it must become a foreign policy issue, rather than an immigration issue. As long as the press and the gov’t keep people discussing immigration then the oppression will not stop and people will continually want to come to America to live.

People want to live here because there is probably no commerce where they currently live. There is no commerce because America has created it to be that way.

It makes sense that people would want to leave their oppressed country, that we have economically raped, to live in a place like America. (When I say “we�, I mean you, me, our political figures…everyone contributes to this)

Where do American citizens get off saying those people MUST go back to the poverty stricken country that America itself had a hand in establishing?!? Because of that fact, immigrants from those oppressed countries have MORE of a right to live here than we are giving them.

It seems Americans want to have it both ways…we want our capitalistic-market economy…we want to pay the low prices…we exploit and oppress other countries in the process…when people in those countries want to live in America then we say “jump through these hoops� or outright “no�.

So, I have to say that she is the victim of an unjust system. If the system was just, she wouldn't be in America to begin with.

Have a great day, Mary.

Dear Mary Mitchell

I read your column about Arellano and how she “learned from Rosa Parks.� I agree; she is no Rosa Parks. Who can make that comparison? I as a Latin American know that considering what I’ve learned when I was growing up; in which the Civil Rights movement moved me very much along with the Trail of Tears that the Native Indians endured until they reached the dessert and most of their population died or were killed. All we have to do is look at Chapter 15 in our grammar school history books up to college level to see that African- Americans have paid their dues no one can deny that. We don’t get the fire hose in the middle of the street, nor any of the other degrading and horrific displays that were endured by your people but we still get treated unjust. I was born and raised in Chicago and I love my mother and father for planting their seeds in the greatest country in the world, with its side effects of discrimination that ranges from ethnic, financial class, gay rights, abortion, religion, etc….

It is true that we came here for a better life for self and family. Shame on us! How could we leave the land that has a more corrupt government than the one we play victim to? We’re walking away from a life that slaves were brought here to labor. If Americans only knew that Mexico doesn’t only consist of Acapulco, Cancun, and all the tourist attractions they love they wouldn’t say a word of why we are leaving to come here. $3 (30 pesos) a week doesn’t feed a family anywhere in the world, why should my people swallow it? I guess Latin Americans decided to enter the immigration fad late; we should’ve come when it was popular to do like the Polish, Irish, and Italian. Maybe America should’ve just crossed a river instead of an Ocean to claim slaves. Africans were taken away FROM their land and Mexicans had their land taken FROM them, what’s the difference? We can’t fit in your shoes and you can’t fit into ours.

To use Rosa Parks name should not be a slap in the face to you or others even though I understand what you’re saying. Play by the rules your saying. This from a country that has broken all the rules and we should just get to the back of the line or “back of the bus�; the bus being America. Sorry, but this seat is for Americans only. You have to leave but your American children can stay with DCFS, reminiscent of Salve auctions in the sense of breaking families apart. Why not use a stone name such as Rosa Parks? What other female icon can you think of that an American woman would learn a stand up for your rights in a moment when you find yourself in that situation? Rosa Parks is the first woman you think of, no question, hands down. All the first ladies of America together can’t touch that. It’s not like she used it in a bad manner. “The law is not right� said Arellano in that interview with the Sun-Times last week; and it isn’t. To be truthful it hurts when I hear African Americans say such things that we should be deported, wetbacks this wetbacks that when I thought we were closer than that. Would it matter if an African from Nigeria, Ghana, or Zimbabwe with an expired visa fighting deportation used Rosa Parks name? The woman or man would be African not African American not having to deal with times of Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation. Their blood line that flows through the roots of their family tree had not been interrupted by the American History that has been burned, destroyed, and hidden on American soil. Would she or he be Rosa Parks material?

What mother would want to face deportation and be torn away from her child, what mother would be okay with that? The back of the line is a ten to fifteen year wait. There are thousands of immigrants that have been here for 10, 20 years working and have built a family around them along with a career. Their children have been told by them to achieve everything they set goals on. Some of us being children of immigrants fail at times to appreciate the sacrifices they have made by knowingly breaking the law, dodging authorities, and spending their year(s) savings to be here. Our parents came with nothing and gave us everything. They’ve acquired bad/hard jobs to get a $300,000 home for their family to live and we spend our time wasting our time instead of taking advantage of the opportunities we have. But trust me when I say that our parent’s make sure to remind us. Like my father used to say “our ancestors came a long way for us to take a rest. It should be all or nothing instead of all for nothing.� My family tree roots to the state of Guerrero named after General Vicente Guerrero that was part African as well as most of the state. So my father raised us to consider African Americans cousins. You need to do a bit more research into our history before you speak upon it. At least we know some African American history if not most of it. Blacks had the opportunity to go back to Africa when the Black Star came into play but by that time a good percentage had been fixated by the American dream. And they had the right to stay not because of the slave ordeal but because they had the same right to stay as the white man that decided not to go back to Britain and escape a bad living situation like my people are doing right now. History repeats it self, that doesn’t mean that the races play the same role all over again. Sorry we’re in your spot light when it comes to discrimination, you can have it back if you want it that bad. You want us to thank African American people for paying the way? Who’s thanked the Native Indians for preserving the land that we live on?

And just incase anyone forgot of the border being relative to 9/11…the terrorists came in through Canadian borders. We should be able to focus on everything not just one border and not just see one as being the problem. This country should be able to handle the task of doing so but unfortunately hasn’t.

Here’s a poem that I wrote a couple of days before I read your column. It’s not done but I hope you enjoy it…. as much as I like reading you writing except this last topic. We can’t agree all the time amongst ourselves but issues can be discussed.

P.S. Were all in the same boat America named “Minorities.�

and i would love a reply even if it took a day or month to recieve it.


Thank you for your eloquent reponse. But let's look at the other side of the story. The last thing a Latino immigrant wants to be in America is a black person. Just review the comments on this blog, and you will find some of the most damning comments about black people have come from people with a Latino surname.

Yet, for the most part, black people have stayed out of the immigration debate. But what Arellano is doing is wrong. I don't have a problem with her gaining inspiration from this American icon. But to characterize her illegal activities with Rosa Parks'act of courage is offensive.

I remain out of sight from all angles and peripherals-
But an impact is required in this time line that I’m living through-
The parents that gave me a better life than theirs are being ridiculed-
Too much for me to handle and too much for me to let it go-
Immigrants aren’t the only ones breaking laws considered federal-
George Ryan and Brian J. Doyle for example-
One’s a child predator and the others smothered in scandals-
Charge us with a felony is their number one answer…not to mention typical-
It’s like they always find a way to make our lives miserable-
Or at least that’s their attempt-
Hispanics vary in heritage but its all one blood line that connects-

The streets are covered with signs to protest and awoke the giant from rest-
Stay low but keep it live and take this time to progress-

Raise the same standards that they lowered us in-
Accusing that we don’t belong but the solider at war is the son of an immigrant(My brother, USMC)-

Protecting our counties risking our lives on making it safe-
While the Senators’ kids are at home playing it safe-
Tucked in their beds with no dreams on taking their place-
I stand before Pharaoh asking him to let the commoners’ go-
Long lines at temp jobs and lunch trucks standing out in the cold-
Walking bare foot with no food on their plate looking towards the fork in the road-
Wishing they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth…but for the now they just want some food in their mouth-

The government wants to prove that immigrants don’t contribute to America’s worth-
That must be why they post raids in the middle of the day and arrest them while they’re at work-

What KIND OF sense does that make-?
Slaving from 9-9’s and even more at some times but they still won’t give us a break-

Minute men are patrolling the border with riffles hanging off of their shoulder like a Continental Solider-
Locked, loaded and ready to explode a shot into the next human attempting to jump over-

I’m not over exaggerating; not even a bit-
They want us placed in a position that they only see fit-

The immigrants of the early and mid 1900’s were welcomed with open arms by the Statue of liberty-
Polish, Irish, came to the States to escape hunger, wars. And misery…or so that’s what I was told during my time studying history-

Their Children, grand children and so on generations come to hail the day they came in as a celebration and look past their form of immigration-

But their skin pigment was white so I guess that makes it okay-
And that blood runs through the corrupt government and city officials that sit in office today-


I agree with you 110%. Rosa Parks didn't break the law, she challenged the law through civil disobedience.

Black history is given no importance in Latin American countries, even those that have a large African presence, such as the Dominican Republic. Most Americans have no clue and no interest in the civil rights movement or the civil rights heroes.

I'm pretty sure some politician or clergy member fed her the idea that she could possibly change history as Rosa Parks and others did. Had these politicias not come into the picture, I'm sure this hopeless woman would have eventually turned herself in or have been caught already. There are hundreds of people who are deported daily who have families here. Arellano isn't a special case. She was just lucky enough to run into politicians who were willing to use her for political gain.

Wow Mary, with friends like you, who needs enemies? All 3 of the civil rights leaders you mentioned engaged in some form of civil disobedience, meaning, they broke some kind of law, to get attention for their cause. They were morally right. To have you, a black woman supposedly on the righteous side of civil rights, stand in the way of Arellano's plight is descpicable. You are no friend to the civil rights movement. Were you not aware that it was still going on? It is now the oppresses Mexicans' turn. We thumb our noses at unjust immigration laws because the US is complicit in forcing us to leave our native land, just as it was complicit in forcing blacks to live in this country 400 years ago. Instead of ripping us from our homeland as they did African slaves, they economically colonized our homeland and left us with no other choice. Are you too blind to see that fact? Please tell me you are not. Please tell me you are only ignorant of these facts, rather than indifferent to them.


My column was about the mischaracterization of Rosa Parks' struggle for civil rights, not the plight of the illegal immigrant.

You wrote: "But instead of thanking blacks for paving the way, other groups have walked across black backs without so much as a "thank you for your sacrifices."

Let me tell you something, maybe you need to take a lesson on LatinHistory/Mexican History. Blacks didn't pave jack for Latinos and especially not Mexicans, and yes Latinos have paid their dues as well. So if you think Latinos/Mexicans or any other group is going to thank you/blacks---keep on waiting. You make it sound as if Blacks are the only ones with a history of struggle, slavery, etc. Take a history class!


I expected no more respect for the black experience in this country than you have shown in this post. That's why you cannot compare your struggle for iopen borders with the struggle Rosa Parks waged for civil rights.

First of all know your own history before lashing out. Rosa Parks was arrested for not following the law in the south. She knew she was breaking the law and chose to do it, which is why she was arrested. Elvira is trying to be the same kind of catalyst and picked up on that comparison.
As far as being free labor - there are thousands of workers: in the fields and in day labor jobs that work and are never paid. They work and are either reported to Immigration or get the threat and never come back to claim the money they worked for. So there are many people that are still being exploited the same way.
As for our community not knowing the history, yes that has been a problem but many are working hard to change that including an exhibition on Africans in Mexico and solidarity happening with other Afro-Latinos.
You need to educate yourself first!


Again. Rosa Parks sat in the black section of the bus which was mandated under separate accomodations. She refused to give up her seat to a white man who couldn't find a seat in the "white" section. Your often repeated version of the Rosa Parks story is incorrect.

Ms. Mitchell,

I thought that your column was not particularly helpful in having either an understanding of the similarities or differences between different groups. Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in the urban and rural areas of the United States and in Chicago particularly have had problems or been treated badly by whites and different levels of government. While no one is saying that in each circumstance that the disrespect or subjugation was exact to that of African Americans or Black Americans, in some instances it was.

If you would like, please read the following:

The Lynching of Persons of Mexican Origin or Descent in the United States, 1848 To 1928
in the academic journal: Journal of Social History, Volume 37, Issue number 2 (2003) pages 411-438.

There is an accessible [free] copy at the website. The journal's website, though, has tables and charts, though as with any act of violence, the numbers themselves would possibly be underreported.

Also read:
South by Southwest: Mexican Americans and Segregated Schooling, 1900-1950 at this web address-

I will post something more extensive later regarding other parts of the column.


Thank you.

can you post my comments? I cannot view them. thanks. Chris

Appreciated your article about this woman wanting sympathy because she has broken the law! Why have laws at all if the laws aren't enforced! Or! Are the laws just for certain individuals! Continue with your work.

What are you trying to say mrs. mitchell??????? Illegal immigrants are not as important as black people? Elvira Arellano should not have to go back to Mexico!!! She works for a living, she doesn't live of the government, and all she wants to do is raise her son in THE greatest country in the world. Is that so bad? She isn't a criminal, what exactly do you have against her. Is it because she works unlike a lot of African-American people. She works to support her kid, not like the people on welfare who just have more kids to have MORE money. This woman is trying to best to make an HONEST living. Please don't try to make her look like a criminal or a bad person. Please write back and tell me what the hell your column was about yesterday because I think it was VERY racist.


i appreciate the fact that Ms. Arellano is trying to make an honest living, but she is nonetheless in this country illegally. The point of my column is that she cannot compare herself to Rosa Parks or her plight to the plight of African-Americans who stood up against segregation and Jim Crow laws. She is not a citizen of the United States. I don't telling the truth about her status makes me racist.

I read Tuesday's column and your current post and I can't help but feel that you are asking way too much of Ms. Arellano. Both of my parents were at one point illegal and I can tell you right now that they will never know black history, or American history for that matter, the way I know it (I'm American-born). My parents' educational opportunites were very restricted, both in their home countries and here in the U.S., and their understanding of the Black struggle is very superficial, limited to knowledge of the major icons- MLK, Malcom X, etc. History is the collective memory of a society, Ms. Mitchell- Can you really expect Ms. Arellano to have the same memories as many Black Americans, to know what slavery means to this country and society? The immigrant experience is an on-going learning experience, one that never seems to end. I agree with you that the choice of Rosa Parks is a bit of a stretch, but keep in mind that Ms. Arellano is learning. It's really more about the sentiment than about historical accuracy, and Ms. Arellano seems to be evoking the spirit of civil disobedience that marked not only the Black Civil Rights movement, but the Chicano/Mexican American farmworker movement (led by Cesar Chavez) as well. Ms. Arellano IS learning from Black history- she may never get all the facts straight, but the attempt to learn from another culture is there. Multiculturalism is virtuous only when we actively try to learn from each other, in spite of our differences, and I think that Ms. Arellano should be commended, not criticized, for at least trying.

Mary, you are right on!
Not only is this woman disrespecting our country's laws and our civil rights movement history, she is also disrespecting her own country - Mexico.
If she has work skills, and is such a "community leader" - why not go back to her own country as an activist to improve conditions for those who are impoverished?
A more productive approach by her "supporters" would be to put together a fund of cash and RELOCATE her to Mexico - get her housing, help her to find a job. Get her son into school.
Unicef estimates that between 2000 and 2006 90% of children in Mexico between 6 and 14 y/o enroll in school. But, only 1 in 10 will complete primary school. Arellano will face challenges - but she would also face challenges in this country.

She has choices - but remaining here is not one of them. If she does not return voluntarily to Mexico, she will be deported.

She will not be asked to give up her seat on the bus, or to move to the back of the bus - she will not even be on the bus. And there will likely be no "sanctuary."

The fact is Elvira broke the law, I think she should be allowed to stay in the country, in jail, she used someone else's credentials to get a job, identity theft is a crime figure out the illegal immigrant matter later, but right now she is a criminal that belong behind bars, like other mothers who have broken the law and is serving time, who is seperated from their children, she is no different, let her stay in the country, to serve her time for the crime she committed.

Mrs. Mitchell, your column is so disgusting that you seem to be racist instead of a journalist. Before you open your mouth though, you really need to brush up on Mexican-American history and learn our spanish language too because, I hate to burst your bubble, but Mexicans and all other Latinos/Hispanics are here to stay. You wrote that blacks should receive a "thank you for your sacrifices" and that "blacks paid their dues" What sacrifice is it that you made??? Those were your ancestors and not you or any other African-American here today. Why should we thank you for something that you didn't do, something that happened so many years ago? And about paying your dues, is that why most African-Americans on welfare? At least Mexican-Americans are here to work, not to get a free ride by using our past history as an excuse.

P.S. Blacks certainly didn't pave anything for us Mexican-Americans so your statement about "other groups enjoying the benefits purchased with black blood, sweat and tears" is RIDICULOUS!!!

dear ms. mitchel i think the reverse of what you think Arrellano is no rosa parks because arrellano is more important to me And us people i have no idea who rosa park is i have only herd of her here and i think your been racist and i am no longer buying sun-times on tusdays.

Great note about this issue. It is hard to believe that she is attempting to capitalize on Rosa Parks for her own gain. What she fails to realize is that Rosa Parks had to break the law to correct what was wrong. There were no legal methods for her to right a social injustice. In Arellano’s case however, the situation was completely avoidable. She could of applied to become a U.S. citizen. She however, chose the easy route and came to the States illegally. If she were truly concerned about her child’s well-being and her own she would of applied to become a citizen. Sorry Ms. Arellano, get in line with all others waiting to get their citizenship – cutters will need to return to the end of the line.

All I have to say is that if you really believe that your ancestry history still pertains to you today, then you are free to go back to your country. You nor any other African-American today "were dragged against their will" therefore leave other immigrants that want to stay here alone.

Hey, I'm staying out of this debate.Hispanics are all upset, but I don't know hispanic history to use anyone hispanic as an example for heroes or villians.Sometimes things aren't taught. But anyway,Mary,everyone else is mad at black people so please don't alienate my compadres.Unlike black people hispanics find solidarity in immigrant issues.We(black people)can't always agree on all issues.But all hispanics agree on immigration issues. Even those born here a couple of generations ago.

Regarding Wednesdays issue, and the IM section, Beth wrote asking "how can she thank today's people for something that happened before she was born?" What about the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korea, VietNam, and the numerous other conflicts the people of our country have sacrificed, to simply allow Beth to write what she just wrote in your column? What an incredibly insensitive statement to make. I would not have wanted to go through what people willingly sacrificed for our country, and continue to do. Our brothers and sisters are NOW fighting for another country, so their citizens can have what we have. Whether or not any of us agree with the war in the Middle East, we're there, and it'll be awhile. Be thankful that you can be OPENLY thankful if you want to be.... Is Arellano wrong? yes....does it really matter to anyone what race she is? no...She has people she needs to answer to, whether she is white, black or purple. I am sorry for her plight, but it seems the government is not responding well to what has been labeled a "crisis", illegal immigration. You know, the last WW1 veteran just passed away this past summer...did anyone thank him for his sacrifices in all these years? I am sure SOMEONE did, probably many times over. Be thankful Beth, whether you can talk to those that sacrificed or not.... This is America...

Well, I'm one of those American Citizen who's Social Seurity Number was used by some Illegal Alien. I'm one of those American citizen that the IRS made life miserable for 2 years, because someone decide to borrow my SSAN. I'm the one that at cost to me, had to track down this person and retrieve my identity back.
Now, here's a woman for what ever her reasons want to identify with Rosa Parks, Macolm X, and MLK.
Personally, she appears more of a Zapata Type, she come here takes what she wants, demand what she needs and blame the world for the misfortunes of her native land. Here's a News Flash: The U S Govt. has one primary duty and its to The American Citizens. Those who are illegal here, are just that simply ILLEGAL. This is not because the usage of "JIM CROW" type laws, which negated the rights and freedoms of other American Citizen. This lady and others like her are simply criminals and should be treated as so. The U S Immigration Dept, The U S Senate or any other U S govenmental agencies are not task with solving the social, economical woes of foreign governments. I got suspicious when I heard this lady took sanctuary in a Methodist church, history would have us believe this was something that only Catholics used in Medival Europe.

Dear Ms Mitchell as I continue to read your blog there are many people very angry especially Latinos I'm sure you expected that.I do feel for Arellano but if you believe in God you should have been living a truthful life.She has been hiding and faking her life here in America and she is not alone.I believe in God and in faith that if you are true to yourself and not live a life of lies and deceit God will listen and answer your prayer.Go back home Arellano,take your son with you and if you are meant to be here in America let God deal with you.He won't let you alone if you only believe.Make it right for your son to come to America the right and lawful way.Someone will help you especially now.

I think most of us agree with you, an are offended by her use of Rosa Parks, an any other black civil rights leader. I also agree that most of the people who benefit from our ancesters efforts in housing, employment, equality,(illegal or legal immigrants, or even some of our own children) don't appreciate what it took to get to this point. However, I think most of the historical changes, are made by people for personal gain, that happens to improve the lives of many others. If her approach, helps to change a policy that appears to unfairly target certain groups of people (Hati included), but openly accepts others (europe), then what she is doing is worth it, an should be supported. As a black person, I personally support her efforts, an admire her for taking a stand regardless of her reason. However, some of the comments posted concern me. It seems that her supporters are lashing out at blacks for being offended, without attempting to understand why. Some are critical of her breaking the law without questioning if the law is right (blacks did break "unjust laws" during the civil rights days). Some are making statements about blacks economic status without knowing the truth (more whites on welfare than blacks. Being poor isn't only a black problem). An while blacks may not be out in force in support, we are not the ones pushing the immigration issue, demanding that illegals be thrown out or the borders closed.

Illegals have no right to be here, period. when people lose in the law, they immediately invoke the "natural law" sometimes called "human rights". ITs really just opinion. There is no right to be here.

Parks was acting pursuant to the rights laid out in the constitution. Those rights articulated in teh bill of rights are accessible to CITIZENS. They are readable by citizens. Parks was a constitutional scholar by fire. And, the courts agreed with her.

will this illegal immigrant lady pay back all her back taxes? has she ever sent $ back to mexico and not paid the taxes?

the only answer, perhaps, is to over thorw mexico, make it our 51st state, and put their leaders on trial for corruption.

mexicans must stay home and make social change. Really, there is not enough room and resources for everyone.

Ms Mitchell I agree with you whole heartedly. I can empathize with Ms. Arellano's situation, but its a moot point. Like you stated in your column, she has broken numerous laws. She came to this country illegally, she obtained stolen social security numbers on more than one occasion, and this isn't the first time she has been deported. The problem I have is her supporters are talking about her rights. Let's call a spade a spade shall we. She is not an American citizen. In all technical terms she has no right under the American Constitution. Until she follow the correct process to obtain citizenship she will not be granted the same laws, priviledges, and civil liberties that American citizen are afforded. And that is as it should be.

Thank You so very much Ms. Mitchell from the bottom of my heart for speaking the truth on this illegal alien, Elvira Arellano. I am an American of ethnic backgroun Puerto Rican and Ms. Mitchell when I heard this woman comparing herself to Rosa Parks I almost fell off my chair. How dare she compares her illegal actions with the African American civil rights movement. First of all its been a while since I wanted to speak to the black community about these Mexicans and illegal aliens from all over comparing themselves to the Martin Luther King movement and others. I cannot believe that people who have no right to even be in this country have any rights to complain or demand anything at all! Elvira Arellano is not a good mother, and she is getting assistance from the government for that child, since the anchor baby was born sickly. The government sends her a monthly check, and Elvira from the beginning is using her little son to anchor herself in this country. So Ms. Elvira Arellano is using her little boy, traumatizing him teaching him hate towards America, and our countries people. She is teaching him that the laws in this country are so mean spirited that they "the bad people" are trying to separate her and her son. He is too young to understand what is realy going on, that is considered child abuse. As a mother of three children I believe that children go wherever the mom goes. Isn't that correct? So no one is separating her and her son, all the law says is "you broke the law, and you have been deported" so take your little boy and go.
No one says you have got to leave him. The real reason she doesn't want to leave is because of the fat monthly check she receives for her son.
Thank You Ms.Mitchell again for defending the black history of this country. Do not let anyone compare and use the civil rights movement laws for their benefit. Most of these people weren't even in this country when that was going on. You have to live it to really understand it. These people are third world lawless mentalities, that use anything and everything, including calling anyone who doesn't agree with their lawless acitivies a "racist"

Thank You, I love your articles you speak the truth, "the truth will set us free".

this comment is for a. wagner why is she a criminal? is it because she works and supports her son? is this what you call a criminal? i though a criminal was a person that kills,rapes in other words hurt other people

I own a small company and employ a number of hispanic men. We talk a lot about the immigration issues, the struggles they face and very often race comes up. If these guys are any indication, I don't think this blog really does bring out the burning issues that exist between blacks and hispanics. These guys feel STRONGLY about 2 things above everything else - their families and their hard work. When they talk about immigration laws, they quickly harp on the black community that "don't want to take responsibility for their families, and aren't willing to take lower paying jobs". Generalizations no doubt but they are views which seem to be pervasive. Again, based on talking with these 8 guys, they see no parallels with the struggles and movements of the black population with what they face and with their day to day life, nor do they feel black leaders or movements have benefitted them.

Mary Mitchell, you are quick to condemn Ms. Arrelano as a law breaker and criminal. However you recently gave a free pass to Ellis Woodland. Last I heard it's illegal to carry gun replicas and point them at Police officers. It's also illegal to rob people using them. I guess the Woodland family are not criminals, even though Ellis Woodland Sr has been arrested 33 times. According to your logic, breaking the law is breaking the law, unles syou are a 14 year old kid from the West side, than its ok. Ms. Arrelano is no Rosa Parks, and Ellis Woodland is no innocent victim. Will you publish this in all fairness.


I don't recall giving the 14-year-old boy a free pass. My column was about the reaction of the community, not the 14-year-old.

After reading your Tuesday column, I find myself searching for what your reason to join the journalistic profession could possibly be.

Don't get me wrong. I have read your column with some regularity since I moved to Chicago five years ago from New York. I think that sometimes you provide a voice for the mostly voiceless, and that is what columnists of color should try to do. I would like to do that someday myself. Not speak for my entire people, but give voice to our consciousness, our perspective. And sometimes you do this quite well. Other times I disagree with you.

But I don't think that you can work in the news business for as long as you have and be naive about it. You must know by now that it is first and foremost a business. You must also know that it is a white-controlled business, that doesn't shy away from consistently reenforcing the stereotypes and hateful images of people of color. This is why I find it puzzling when you write something yourself that hurts people of color.

Division between Blacks and Latinos has got to end. It is deadly, it is dangerous, and it will prevent either of us from moving forward. Yet, you lash out (and ignorantly I might add) at one of us who tried (as people so often do) to tie her struggle to the landmark struggles of Blacks in this country's history.

That's right, I called you ignorant. You called Arellano ignorant, and I am replying in kind. Why? Because you spoke of the struggle of Blacks as untouchable, and somehow beyond Latinos, I think that's a big part of it.

Well, I'm Panamanian, and most of us in the Chicago area are Afro-Panamanians. Our ancestors took the whip and the lynchings like yours did in this country, and our ancestors fought struggles for liberation. Our Nat Turner is Bayano, our Denmark Vesey is Felipillo. Then our people also had to contend with twenty invasions from the United States that massacred our people, our infrasturcture and our economy. We have withstood one and a half centuries of US economic hegemony, and our communities have been kept too underdeveloped to end that, the same as the Black community in here in the United States.

Or maybe a better way for you to understand is to go to the Mexican museum in Pilsen, to see the struggles of Afro-Mexicanas who fought against slavery, and in the revolution of the 1910s.

Or maybe another way for you to understand would be to look into indigenous history, and the vast majority of Latinos (especially from Mexico, Central America and the Andes) are largely indigenous. A people who lost fifty to eighty million lives to colonialism, who were enslaved and lynched before they were wiped out, and who today live as discriminated against and ghettoized as anyone.

So, I cannot see how you would try to compete oppressions between Blacks and Latinos. They are often the same oppressions, there is no value of competing them or playing them off against each other.

Then you say that Arellano is somehow only an alleged activist, though you make no mention of her founding of United Latino Family, which makes her an activist, period.

Then you use that horrible excuse that Arellano breaking the law, but that Rosa Parks somehow didn't. Well, Martin Luther King Jr. sure did. SNCC sure did. The Black Panthers sure did. Frederick Douglass I'm sure did. W.E.B. DuBois did. In fact, slavery, discrimination, Jim Crow, lynchings, none of that would have either ended or been reduced if it hadn't been for 'lawbreakers'. People who saw unjust laws and broke them within a movement that sought justice. The immigration laws are unjust, Chicago City Council even knows that as they have passed resolutions calling for an end to deportations until the US immigration policy is fixed. And Arellano is not carrying out her symbolic gesture in a vaccuum- she is a part of this national movement.

Your white bosses were very smart. I don't know the backstory, if there is anything particularly manipulative about how your column came about, but if it is an honest column, than it was smartly exploited by yet another newspaper eager to scapegoat and divide, who threw it on the front page.

You will push Blacks further toward a bigoted stance, and further frustrate efforts by Latinos to create bonds. I'm sure your bosses couldn't be happier.

"I guess Latin Americans decided to enter the immigration fad late; we should’ve come when it was popular to do like the Polish, Irish, and Italian."

maybe you should starve a third of your citizens to death to re-enact that fad then, huh?

For all the complaining I hear about how people only learn "European" history, there is sure an incredibly ignorant understanding of it.

Maybe you aren't aware of this, but Irish people were brought to Chicago as ditchdiggers, because it was known many would die, and the Irish were deemed to be worthless in comparison to slaves, who had agricultural skills.

The fact that enough lived and eventually settled was an accident and a testament to their ability to survive.

Regarding some of the other quasi-history going on here, let's not confuse Spain and the USA.

Spain engaged in colonization brutality starting 400 years ago, not the USA, whose genocide was more focused on the Native Americans north of Mexico. This revisionist history that America "stole" land from Mexico ignores the fact that Spain and their indigenous collaborators stole it from the Southwest Indians. The real victims here are the Native Americans, not the conquerors who in turn got conquered.

Some may find these points irrelevant, or nitpicking. But if you want people to take your history seriously, you better know it, and you better return the favor.

The circumstances surrounding the immigration of various European groups have a world of difference. Some groups came here as they were being wiped off the planet by the English, others came here to escape religious oppression, and some were just downright aggressively seeking to take land and resources.

You would do well to learn the differences.

I know the differences between the Mexica and the other tribes they subjugated (or failed to, such as the TlaxcallÄ?ns), which is why a few hundred Spaniards were able to waltz right into Tenochtitlan and to hold Moctezuma hostage.

I have a lot of respect for Mexicans, I've grown up with them & they are great people & I'm proud to have many as friends, but please lose the fake indignation about how nobody else has it as bad and so on - this is kind of a common thread in these blogs, this macho "My people had it worse!" thing, which of course depends on how far back your knowledge of history goes.

While I am generally sympathetic to the plight of illegal immagrants, I am not in this case. She has been here for 9+ years and claims that she wishes to stay here for a variety of legitimate reasons but has chosen not to learn our language or, from what I gather , attempt to be assimalated in our nation state community.
The United States is a great place to live, work and raise your family. It seems that she has chosen to isolate herself from the very thing that will make her presence be benificial to the country as well as herself and family - to be able to communicate with the general population.
I understand that this is common with a majority of those immigrants that have settled here over the past 200+ years but there is one major difference. Those that immigrated were by and large immigrating legally. They worked hard and their children learnrd the language
This is a different case. She had amply opportunity to learn the language and demonstrate a real committment to become an American regardless if she came here illegally.She has not. I would feel much more sympathetic to here plight if she at least showed the interest and in learning the language and worked hard to become a part of our total community.

the first thing that most latinos learn(even though its only a trick)is to vote Republican ,that it makes them better then blacks .They are allowed to receive welfare without social security or ID cards (while if a citizen in need tried that they would be escorted out of the office),to say they dont owe anything to the black race is stupid and incorrect, we wouldnt be having this conversation if blacks had not fought and died for "everyones'civil rights,they would just be able to go in and snatch Ms.Arellano and she would be back in Mexico this evening,so to disrespect blacks by saying you dont owe them anything because that is what whites tell you is ignorant.(they want you to be clueless).Yes black young man may have committed the acts that may have shortened many lifes(so have whites) but what about the mexicans who have killed hundreds of young women on the border the last few years .(in every race their are degenerates)I had to tell a friend that 84% of serial killers were white (which was confirmed)so instead of letting whites make us fight each other for crumbs read your history books about racism in america(since you claim to love this country so much)the curriculum in schools about slavery and such is lacking due to the perception it will open up old wounds(the wounds actually never healed) so in closing if she is here illegally she really doesnt have anything to worry about think about it ,if they detain and deport her they would have to do the same thing with the millions of other illegals ,The bottom line is since it is a crime to employ illegals you are no longer needed by whites.Blacks have never been your enemy you were just told that lie to confuse you and to perpetrate the divide and conquer scenerio.We out of anybody can relate to the stuggles of life ,Blacks never claimed to be the only "race"who went through these atrocities.(who told you that)I personally wish the immigration laws for everyone would be more fair to everybody ,But you see who are running the country dont you?Take that problem up with powers that be ,dont use this issue to fight among ourselves,because that is just what they want us to do!

As an Mexican-American I am disgusted in the way Ms. Arrellano is making my people look. My aunt went back to her point of entry and is following the proper steps in becoming an American. That is the right way to do it , do it legal, not hide in a church. She's is Catholic in a Methodist Church!!!

The people that are housing her should face criminal charges. It is illegal to harbor a fugitive. If I were to do the same thing the Colemans are doing they would have busted down my door and arrested me.

Tho i believe you have the right to voice your oppinion, do it legally.

She said that it will separate her from her son, where is the father let him take care of him and take him on vacation to visit her, or does she even know who the father is.

I believe that the Colemans and the Politicians are just using her for political advantage.

Now wouldn't you vote for them if they were on your side. Good political move on there side.

what a fool she is she thinks everyone is out for and on her side as for me and alot of Mexican- Americans I know are disgusted, and feel she should be deported today, right now.

Sorry....If other don't like my comments I don't care I'm A PROUD AMERICAN and only celebrate American Holidays.

God Bless America...

The comparison to Rosa Parks is difficult to accept because of differences in the realities of blacks and immigrant groups like Latinos. In a city like Chicago, the housing patterns are a perfect example of such differences. Many Latinos and other immigrant groups have settled in neighborhoods that were, and some argue continue to be, strictly off limits for blacks to live, meaning landlords would not rent and homeowners would not sell to blacks. Neighborhoods like Portage Park, Irving Park, Jefferson Park, (North) Belmont Cragin, most of Logan Square, illustrate this with significant Latino populations with little to no blacks, although the majority black Austin community lies just south of these neighborhoods. In the city, blacks remain largely where they settled during the migration from southern states (also know as the Great Migration). This is an example that while being Latino in America may have some obstacles that blacks can relate to, it still appears to be a better situation than being a black American.

Illegal Immigrants aren't as important as Blacks get a clue!!!

Is Mexico that much worse than the rest of the world that they're so desparate they'll do anything to get and stay here. And what is the Mexican government doing to improve living conditions and its economy so that the whole country doesn't want to immigrate the to U S? I know its bad down there but don't they have anymore pride in their own country than to just abandon it to come here?

Mary I agree with everything you wrote and am saddened by the negative, backlashed responses by my peers. We really have to step back and focus on how politically motivated this whole situation is. Rather than focus on this poor woman's situation why don't we accept the fact that she is also an opportunist who has willingly become the poster child of immigration. She is no Rosa Parks. I can assure you that many of us have parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who are in the exact same situation as she is, but where is their extension? Who is buying them an additional year or two in this country? No one. I think our leadership made the mistake of taking her on as thier personal cause and failed to realize that she is just one out of thousands. What about the rest of us?

My Mother came here and was granted a Green Card in 1950. My Grandparents came here in 1919 to Ellis Island. They came here legally. Elvira broke the law. The black ministers have proven that they are a sham by backing a law breaker.

Every topic always seems to turn into a Black issue with you. Oh well, be that as it may, we should all consider the fact that Rosa Parks intentions on that day, was not to pave the way for blacks. If she had wanted to 'pave the way', she would have been sitting in the white section of the bus!! No, her actions were not pre-meditated, just the result of being an angry black woman who was in a foul mood. It was all about Rosa on that day, and nobody else. Sadly, I believe the same holds true for you. You could do so much good for your people, for all people, if you made the choice to write your column in a positive light, instead of the racist spin you put on most of them. Having your own column gives you an amazing opportunity to do some real good for everyone. But instead, you choose to stir your brew of racism, keeping it alive, column after column. So, taking your adivice from Tuesday's column, I'll give thanks to blacks, but not for what you have suggested. Instead, like you, I'll say something hateful, useless, and unproductive to the cause of racism, like.... I'll remember to give thanks in my nightly prayers, to all the blacks for paving the way for obscene rap lyrics, ghetto neighborhoods, massecreing the English language, overflowing our jails and being a burden on society. How's that! Hurt a little bit, didn't it? That hurt is what happens to me almost every time I read your column. Mary, take your gift of jounalism, and use it for the good of all, instead of stoking the fires of hatred. It's time for you to "PAVE THE WAY."

People and politicians seem to gloss over some issues here. Put aside politically correct for a moment if you will. Talk what's right and what's wrong. (1). Entered country ILLEGALLY, (2. Probaly got false ID's to secure employment (I'm assuming). (3). Total disregard for the laws of the land. Not turning herself in for deportation. (4). Can't speak English (Does this sound like someone that wants to become a citizen)? (5) Doesn't want to break up her family by being deported. Did she not leave her other family in Mexico? Why can't she go back and then enter the country legally and go through the legal process to secure citizenship? My father had to. Plus he had to learn the language. Spoke broken English all the way up to his death in 1964. Hat's off to you MARY MITCHELL!

The Urban Institute estimates that the cost of educating illegal alien children in the nation’s seven states with the highest concentration of illegal aliens was $3.1 billion in 1993 (which, with the growth of their population to 1.3 million, would be more like $5 billion in 2000). This estimate does not take into account the additional costs of bilingual education or other special educational needs.

In this day and age of doing anything to get votes, we'll continue to get illegal immigrant kiss-ups like Guitierez pander to law-breakers. I can think of 5 billion reasons why we have to stop this!!

I have no problem with people such as Elvira Arellano,coming to this country for the want of a better life for herself and for her family. After all this is just the reason that people came to this country in the first place. But in the case of Elvira Arellano, it appears that she has a different agenda. She has already been deported because she had been caught with a falsified Social Security number. She broke the law. Now she claims that she is the second coming of Rosa Parks. Excuse me but to put herself into the same shoes as Rosa Parks is an insult. She says that she too is an Activist just as Rosa Parks. But just what is Ms. Arellano's agenda. Rosa Parks is a true American hero. Who stood up against oppression. Rosa Parks never broke any laws. Rosa Parks is a symbol to all that if you stand up and fight for equality, someone will hear you. But Rosa Parks was an American,who wanted the rest including the racial bigots that equality was the right of all Americans. Not just a select few of White America. She wanted the laws of our country inforced.Rosa Parks is and was a true American hero. Ms. Arellano does not seem to understand the laws,nor does she care. She has taken to hide behind her son and has gone into the sancuary of a Church. Stand up Ms. Arellano,stand up the way Rosa Parks did and voice your objections. Rosa Parks stood up and told all America that she was someone and America is lucky to have had a person like that. But to put herself into the same sentence or to say the cause's are the same. Ms. Arellano you do not even belong in the same ballpark.


I expected no more respect for the black experience in this country than you have shown in this post. That's why you cannot compare your struggle for open borders with the struggle Rosa Parks waged for civil rights.

My response: Do you really think that the Latino/Mexican experience starts with Immigration/Open Border issue? Don't show your ignorance. Like I said, take a history class!


What history class would you suggest. We can enroll together.

By the way, an Social Security card is not accepted ahywhere as identification, only proof of one's social security enrollment. You're taking a page out of the racist right-wing's book on criminalizing immigrants as identity theives. Nice bedfellows there, Ms. Mitchell

Ms. Mitchell, you said in your column, "Arellano is not a victim of an unjust system."

Your support for this claim is that she broke immigration laws. Apparently, that puts her beneath Rosa Park's honorable act of civil disobedience.

By this logic, had Rosa Park broken the law instead of just tested it, you would have to say she had forfeited her moral justification.

I hope Ms. Arellano has learned from Rosa Parks what I have: An individual can take a stand that's not easy or popular, but that reveals the injustices many others have suffered silently.

Mary, for once I agree with you on this issue.

What I do not understand is how people can possibly think that she (1) is any comparison to Rosa Parks; (2)think that she should be allowed to stay in our country.

Point blank, she is a criminal, she had someone else's social security number. Myself, being an American citizen, if I would have done that I would be in prison.

I suggest the following remedy (1) if she wants to be treated like an American, arrest her and put her in prison for her crime like any other American. She is so worried about being seperated from her child, let DCFS step in while she is serving her due time in the department of corrections; or (2) put her on the first one way, non stop bus back to Mexico.

She had how many years to become legal but yet chose not to? She has not made the effort to learn our language. President Bush and all these politicians talk about "tightening the border" and everything else, they need to get the kahunas, go in that church and do what they have to do, whether it be arrest her or deport her.

I have absolutely no sympathy for this lady.

Arellano IS breaking the law. She used a FAKE ss#. How many of us, no matter what our nationality, would be outraged if that ss# was ours?

Ms. Mitchell...I read Tuesday's column about Elvira Arellano comapring herself to Rosa Parks and I felt disgusted. (By the way, of course she was fed this information by the politicians using her for political gain. Despite her stance on remaining in this country, she has not bothered to learn English). Perhaps it had something to do with my experience walking home from Wrigley Field with my 10 year old son and two of his friends. Three twenty-something Hispanic men were walking behind us. They were speaking English, but their language was filled with foul swearing and crude sexual remarks. I politely turned around and told them to please clean up their language, I have three little boys with me and they don't need to hear this. The response? From gentlemen #1, "Lady, your husband probably talks worse than that to you". Gentlemen #2 "F------ white people!"! Ms. Mitchell, normally I don't get excited about dealing with stupid people. But these are the people who want immigartion rights! I reminded them that if they hated white people so much that they could go back to Mexico where they wouldn't have to see any white people. Cheers were heard from other pedestrains who witnessed this interaction. Here it want rights from us, treat our citizens with respect. Follow the same rules all immigrants need to follow. If you feel the rules are not fair, follow the laws anyway and see if you can change them without alienating the legal citizens. And why you are at it, learn English. My grandparents, like so many who came here from Europe, worked menial jobs, learned English, and made a better life for themselves and their children. And they followed the rules. Elvira should not even dare compare herself to Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks handled herself with dignity and pride. She was smart enough to realize not to alienate the people she needed to join her cause. Elvira and the rest of the Mexican Community who are demanding rights here that the should be demanding from their OWN country should take a history lesson. Show the rest of us that you are worthy individuals who can contribute to this country. What Elvira and the rest of the illegals are getting now is backlash, which will not lead to reform but resentment toward those who feel entitled to break the law to get what they want. Elvira should consider herself lucky she is not being charged with identity theft. Women in this country do not get a free pass to break the law because they are mothers. There is just so much wrong with this picture! Ms. Mitchell, I appreciate your viewpoint and you having the courage to print an opinion that is not politically correct.

Is there a reason my comment was not posted?



I'm woefully behind on posting comments.


Again, thank you for your insightful and ACCURATE assessment of this ridiculous soap opera. If we lay emotion aside and think rationally, we cannot help but conclude that there are people out there unclear on the concepts of LEGAL and ILLEGAL. They are the ones that I think are unworthy of citizenship, whether they have it now or not.

Hello Ms. Mitchell, I thank you so much for the article about Ms. Rosa Parks, who does this illegal alien think she is comaparing herself to such a legend. Ignorance,in illegl aliens is very huge. I am of Puerto Rican descent and I would like to ask you to please do not let anyone brainwash you into believing that all hispanics are and think the same. We do not, and Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are the same. We celebrate things a different way and we also are born citizens of this country. As you can see illegal aliens are hanging on to some blacks who of course are Americans, and also like to use the Puerto Ricans making everyone think we are all the same and in the same boat. NOOOOOOOOO that is not true, what they are trying to do is make us believe that we should all stick together against the white Americans, and also against the laws of this country. Do not be fooled because Mexicans have a mission, and please check into other websites like La Raza, and schools in California teaching hate towards this country. Once they take over neither blacks nore Puerto Ricans will matter one bit to them. They at this moment and today want the blacks and the Puerto Ricans on their side against any anglos. I am trying to warn the American people of this country, to stand strong and don't fall for this "race" issue. It is a conspiracy from Mexico, once their in we will be screwed for sure, the future of our children and grandchildren are at stake. They will kill us all, the way they do in Mexico. No respect for our laws as you can see it already, no respect for the police, and no respect to especially women.
Please Ms. Mitchell I can see how intelligent and open mind you are, God Bless You for being there.
We need more like you.
Thank You

Ms. Mitchell,

I always enjoy reading your column, you have alot of fight in you but what we need less of is less infighting among African Americans and Americans of Mexican decent. We need to stick together and not fight over the crumbs left over by the more fortunate.
I think both groups need to study each others history and grow from our similarities. We must build one another up and not knock each other off as they struggle to survive.

It's amazing how many people are in support of what Elvira is doing (and it's not surprising that most of them are Hispanic). But, the key word here, people, is "ILLEGAL". What she was doing was "ILLEGAL" -- the fake IDs, the fake social security cards, sneaking into the country not once, but twice -- It's hard to feel sympathy for somebody who is doing something -- are you there, people? -- ILLEGAL.

Dear Ms. Mitchell
You are a wonderful writer and I absolutely adore you.Keep up the good work.

Overall, I think many of Ms. Arellano’s supporters are right in that our country has a long and sad of using cheap Mexican labor when it is politically and economically expedient, and then trying to send people back when circumstances shift. I think their frustration with the current system is valid. However, I agree that a comparison with Rosa Parks is inaccurate for a number of reasons, most of which have already been discussed in your column and this blog. I would add that from a PR aspect, however, Rosa Parks was a spotless test case for challenging the unfair Jim Crow laws; humble and dignified, no decent person could look at her situation and say she was in the wrong. On the other hand, even those who may generally be sympathetic to immigration issues look at the Arellano situation with some discomfort. Although I am sympathetic to Ms. Arellano’s situation, she is a terrible “test case� to publicly challenge the immigration system, having been repeatedly deported.

Unfortunately, the situation of Ms. Arellano is another byproduct of our country’s schizoid immigration “system�. As a nation, we have to decide what we want more: cheap labor and goods, or stringently enforced immigration laws. Let’s be honest: without immigration from south of the border, entire industries including agriculture and food processing (key to Illinois) would come to a screeching halt. Most folks who come up here from across the Mexican border just want to work and support their families (Mexico gets more money in remittances from the US than it generates in tourism dollars). It is patently unfair for us as a nation to enjoy 89-cent lettuce in our grocery stores, $7 an hour janitorial services in our offices, and cheap yard work for our homes but at the same time complain about illegal immigration; HELLO, why do you think these services are so cheap? [Let me add that I think paying people sub-standard wages for their labor is deplorable; I am just trying to make the point that very few people think about where their goods and services come from].

Finally, if we really want to be serious about curbing illegal immigration, we should be going after EMPLOYERS, not single mothers. People will not come here if they cannot work; when amnesty was granted in the 80’s, illegal immigration slowed down significantly at first, since it was supposedly going to coincide with a crackdown on employers. It never happened, and today illegal immigration is reaching record levels. People won’t risk their lives to cross the border – multiple times, as in the case of Ms. Arellano - if they don’t think they can get a job when they get here.

I think that all illegals should be sent back to Mexico and then reapply for admission on a case by case basis, the first, being able to speak English, no criminal record, and a decent work record while here. America doesn't need any more pool cleaners and landscapers.


Until Congress comes up with a comprehensive plan to fix the immigration mess, we are going to be divided over this issue. The solution is to lobby Congress to take action that is fair and balanced.

I agree with you. This person broke a fair law. Rosa Parks broke an unconstitutional law. No comparison between the two. Too bad you don't say the same thing about the gay marriage crowd that is also trying to claim a connection to the civil rights movement. But I guess there are probably more gay big shots at the Sun Times than illegal aliens. You're surely no Rosa Parks either, Mary. She stood up to the powerful.


I'm not claiming to be a Rosa Parks. As for the gay community's claim to the civil rights movement, check the archives for my position on this debate.

Ms. Mitchell,

I read your editorial and I am writing you to offer a few thoughts. Perhaps, Ms. Arellano does not know the full history of the civil rights movement or specifically of Rosa Parks. Moreover, she did break immigration laws and unfortunately, as I understand immigration law, she has no relief available to her.

However, I question your editorial on two grounds. First, perhaps a better comparison to Rosa Parks would be Elvira's son. He did not break any law, he is a United States citizen, and he had no choice as to his country of citizenship. More importantly, as with the Rosa Parks situation, our government has a duty to give its citizens the full protection of the law and offer the rights afforded to all citizens of this country. As the plight of the African-American was insurmountably affected by Rosa Parks, so to can the lives of roughly 3 million children of illegal immigrants be positively changed forever. While I understand that you are only reacting to the original comparison that Elvira allegedly made, I fail to see why you did not take the plight of Elvira’s son into consideration or more generally, the injustices surrounding child's rights in this country.

Second, I question your timing with this editorial. Why would you write this editorial at this time? I understand that as a journalist for the Sun-Times you are called to write about issues affecting the Chicagoland area and to provide your opinion as to the main issues affecting all of us today. Further, I understand that as an African-American, you want to protect the memory and legacy of all those before you that have given so much to the progression of this country. I would do the same. However, while our histories might be different, the same social problems and injustices that our people face, make us ONE community. I hope you thought of the affect that your article would have on the "fragile" unity between our people. There is so much potential for our people to work together and solve the issues that we face in this city. Do you think that this editorial in anyway supported that effort? Just think what affect your opinion will have on both sides. I really hope that your opinion does not separate our people more than they already are. God forbid you spark an attitude in that one student to attack the other, or the merchant to discriminate against that one shopper, or that business owner to discriminate against that one employee based on his race or ethnicity. Our world would undoubtedly be a better place these types of injustices, violence, and discrimination. That’s one invaluable lesson that your people not only offered to the United States, but to the entire world. Now I ask you: Do you feel your article made this world a better place?

Thank you for your time in reading my response. Take care and God Bless.


Arellano's stance is a news story. That's why it became a subject of my column. As for making the world a better place--that takes actions, not words.

Having illegal mexicans here cost us so much more than what they contribute. Tax supported overcrowded schools and public health facilities cannot be suported by the $5 hour they make doing the jobs "nobody else will do".

Overcrowding in houses built for one family is a health hazard and the money they earn that they send back to Mexico is a drain on our economy.

Ms. Arello, please go back.

I am adding a comment to this blog not to debate immigration (by the way, I don't think Ms. Mitchell's column was about immigration, it was about Arellano comparing her plight to Rosa Parks') but to support Ms. Mitchell as she continues to educate and inform all races. After reading this blog I have even more respect because she remains calm in her responses to some of the anger filled and defamatory posts. Ms. Mitchell please continue to educate us all with such high level of professionalism. And to the person that tried to give Ms. Mitchell a history lesson on the civil rights movement: are you serious?

I am very disappointed about your comments regarding the Arellano case. We are all equal no matter how we came to the United States. Crossing a border to lead a better life is not a reason to lose your civil rights. You have always been a champion of ideas but this time you are absolutely wrong.


Are you saying it is o.K. to break the law if you are coming from Mexico or should anyone in the world be allowed to come to America without going through the immigration process? As for civil rights, do I have civil rights in Mexico without going through the immigration process?

I get a kick out of posts like Richard's on this blog.
Evil old America exploits everyone. But, no doubt you live in a comfortable home and drive a nice vehicle, with a ball game or dining on occasion. Be thankful for what America provides despite the country's shortcomings. The world community will never be a Utopian society. No matter how much you libs wish for it, it will NEVER be that way. It is not the innate nature of human beings to care that much for economically equitable societies. As to Ms. Arellano, she has broken the law several times. She is being allowed sanctuary in the church for the time being in the hopes that an immigration bill will soon be passed that might allow her to stay in this country. I think that is good enough for now. She is no Rosa Parks. She needs to find another symbol to describe herself. News flash for some of you: A lot of light-skinned Latinos look down on their darker brethren. Racism exists with them as it does in all races.


This is for the Latino people whining about Mary Mitchell being 'racist' and saying hispanic people don't 'owe black people anything' then why in the HELL do you keep making us part of your damn argument. Since that's the way you feel then I feel that this whole is issue is YOUR problem and yours alone and if you don't like black people or their perspective or Mary's comments or mine then DON'T bring up Rosa Parks or Malcolm X. You people only want to hold hands and sing "We are the World" when it's convienent to serve your OWN ends then have the nerve to whine when Ms. Mitchell and rightfully so says that is no comparison. And if you don't want blacks to be part of your discussion the DON'T make us part of your argument because it won't work.

Ms. Mitchell, I read your article, and I agree with you. This woman came to this country illegally, and she's not a citizen of the United States. We are a nation of laws, and ILLEGAL means ILLEGAL. Reading some of the comments made by some Latinos or Hispanics are racist. I don't recall any Salvadorans, Mexicans, or other Central Americans marching in the streets with blacks, Jews, women, and whites protesting Jim Crowism? Some Puerto Ricans in New York City did get involved some what. Many Mexican Americans stated, this wasn't there problem, because they were considered white. Also Mexican Americans could go into white establishments and attend schools along side of whites in the south, before black U.S. citizens. Most Latinos or Hispanics identify with being white, and many of their birth certificates say white, not colored or Negro. Afro or black Latinos are treated very badly in many Spanish speaking countries by white or fair skinned Latinos. My mother is black U.S. citizen from the south, and my father was a black Puerto Rican from the island. Illegal immigration is destroying this country, and it is really hurting U.S. black citizens. In a recent study at Duke University and UNC at Chapel Hill, most Mexicans before moving to Durham, North Carolina had a disdain for black U.S. citizens before crossing our porous borders. Many Salvadorans, Mexicans, and other Central Americans have a disdain for black U.S. citizens, but they move in all black neighborhoods. I am glad you wrote this article, and millions of black U.S. citizens agree with you.

Why aren't new comments being posted in a timely mannery? I submitted my first one August 23 and haven't seen it yet. I hope this just poor effort and not avoidance.


Unfortunaely, I've been out of the country and unable to manage the blog in a timely fashion. Also, you should voice your complaint to my editor--John Barron at i could use a little help.

The whole situation with Elvira Arellano, an illegal Mexican immigrant, is a little confusing to me and other Americans. Several questions should be answered before anyone should take their opinion and I haven't found them from any news source, including answers to these questions::

- How long has she been in the USA?
- How many times was she told she was being deported? And, over what course of time?
- Was her son born to an American or did she have him with another illegal immigrant in the
United States?
- Has she tried to take the US citizenship test?
- And, if she couldn't speak or understand English to take the test, did she take any ESL
(English as a Second Language) courses?
- Why wasn't she jailed for having an illegal social security number?
- Did she file a tax return?
- Has she received any governmental assistance? (food stamps, unemployment, or health
- Does she have a drivers license? And, if so, does she have insurance?


Most of these questions have already been addressed in news stories. You can access the Sun-Times archives at

Mary, if we lived in a free world instead of an armed compound, Elvria Arellano's predicament wouldn't exist.

Personally I think it's time that the lock-'um-out mentality of immigration laws and quotas be eliminated and we go back to the open borders that built this country. I don't have a problem with moderate screening to keep out criminals etc but sending a mother out of the country when her child is a citizen is simply immoral AND her parallel with Rosa Parks is that she's pleading morality is superior to legality. I think it is.

I'm American of Mexican Descent and I agree with you on one point. This woman should be deported immediately. she broke the law and is a criminal. We may not all agree with the law but it is a law and if it is broken, she should pay for it. My parents, my wife's parents and my wife all came to the U.S. legally and went through the proper channels to attain citizenship. So should she. I do however; take issue with your statement that Mexicans owe blacks a "thank you" for the civil rights movement. The movement involved more than just black people. Jewish people had a huge hand in the civil rights movement and thier thanks was to be continually insulted by some prominent black leaders. As far as I know, the black community has yet to come to thier defense. A diverse group of people supported Dr. King and his vision. Mexican Americans have dealt with discrimination in this country throughout history. Talk about people needing to read history. Do you know about the bracero program? Or the Zoot Suit riots? Maybe the English only schools where children were beaten if they were caught speaking Spanish to eachother? How about the holocaust of the Americas? Millions of native Mexicans were exterminated from disease, torture and execution at the hands of the Spaniards. How about the land stolen from Mexico? While we are at it, lets talk about other cultures like the Irish who need not apply, the Japanese and thier internment camps, the Native Americans and the decimation of thier society. Ms. Mitchell, blacks are not the only people in this country that have suffered, they are the only people it seems that can't seem to get past it. I thank ALL people that have made a contribution to this wonderful country but I refuse to believe that I owe black people in particular any thanks. Yes, black people have suffered social injustices in this country but so have alot of people so get over it.


So why is it so hard to acknowledge the contributions black people have made to this country? Why should black people be constantly told to get over it?

Thank you for honestly calling this what it is, a woman illegally in this country breaking the laws of this country.

It would be real easy to jump on this woman's side and think that her cause is good, but she is merely a criminal with a social conscience.



It's called politics.

Dear Mary,

Yes, Ms. Arrellano broke the law, but who are you to judge her. You keep saying that Latinos and others owe African Americans a lot for the what they achieved in the civil rights movement. You forget that 1/2 of the United States belonged to the Latinos and that Mexican Americans also contributed to the U.S. and continue to do so without going on the welfare roll. First you critized Pilsen regarding the Latina doll and now this.

You seem to be more racist than anyone. Latinos and African Americans need to be friends and not enemies.


The reason we can't talk about race is because whenever someone criticizes an action by someone of a different race, we immediatel leap to the conclusion that the person is racist. How then can we ever be friends?

I have read all the above and your colum regarding Elvira's plight. Breaking the law is normally breaking the law, but unfortunately color has an influence on just how the incident is viewed. A crime is a crime, I understand her plight, but no where in any other country would she be able to break the law and have it sanctioned. Reading some of the other comments, no only do most of the commentors need history lessons some need ethics training as well

In response to Richard S's comment "You have to leave but your American children can stay with DCFS, reminiscent of Slave auctions in the sense of breaking families apart."

BBeeeppp! Wrong answer. This is in no way remniscent of the African Slave Trade. DCFS offers you the option of having your child/ren placed in the care of relatives or loving foster parents. You are allowed to visit with your children,etc. Don't ever attempt this comparison again!

Slave women did not have the privilege of knowing where their offspring would be SOLD off to. They did not have contact privilege , and their children were SOLD at slave auctions against any will they mustered. They knew their children would be forced into slave duties, tortured, beaten, raped, and possibly killed. Don't you dare compare the two! EVER!

I am puzzled. I need answers/information.

Richard S. posted the following comment.

He writes: (In reference to immigrants): "They’ve acquired bad/hard jobs to get a $300,000 home for their family to live."

Tell me how I can purchase a $300,000 home on my below poverty-level wage?

How do you qualify for a home loan if you are undocumented?

If you had savings and put a hefty down payment on your home, please tell me how you opened an account with a bank?I really need to know how this is done.

How do undocumented persons (illegal immigrants) qualify for welfare, foodstamps, credit cards, WIC, and healthcare services from the Deparments of Public Health and other entities around the US?

Let me put this simple for you, so you can understand. Elvira never said she compares herself with Rosa Parks. She only said that Rosa Parks gives her inspiration. Also you mention in your article that Rosa Parks never broke the law. Let me refresh your history, she did broke the law. Why do you think she got arrested?
You should refresh your history before you write ignorant comments.


She was arrested because she was a black woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. That's my history. I can't speak for yours.

This lady broke the law,but Rosa only crime was that she was a black citizen in America.

The Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., read from the philosopher Frederick Hegel, who wrote: "Growth comes through pain and struggle." He was also influenced by the likes of Henry David Thoreau and Mahandas K. Gandhi. Poeple of Greatness such as the ones above mentioned, as well as Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, and others, are icons not just for a particular group of people but, for all of the oppressed, shirtless, voiceless people of the world. These people were thrust into action by certain struggles of the times. During an iterview after refusing her seat to a white man, Mrs. Parks declared that "there were no plans." She was "simply tired," and yes, by law, she was required to vacate her seat and surrender it to the white man. We all, people of color (Hispanics included: there were plenty of slaves in Puerto Rico, the rest of the West Indies, and South America)must be thankful for that great time in history when ridiculous, racist, oppressive laws were challegend and crumbled. Ms. Arellano appropriately identifies with such an "icon of the people who struggle," Ms. Rosa Parks. There is no need for apologies. The struggles continue. We must rally up all the Gandhis, Kings, Chaves, Parks and Arellanos of the world to collectively continue to fight in Unison, the good fight, the struggles, for the good of the whole...not just for a few. I voice this opinion as a US Army war veteran (CPT-USA) and as a second class, American-citizen, from the colony of Puerto Rico, USA.

Not having the facts in this case should exclude my comments but, after reading what others had to say, I had to put my two cents in. Rosa Parks was standing up for her rights but, if your here illegally, you don't have rights. Elvira's son will be the one that will suffer the most from his mother's decsion to prolong her deportation. All this energy she's putting forth could go towards thinking up ways to educate her son in immigration laws and proceedures. At least he will benifit from the American Dream with the free flowing access to a great education, excellent health care, and unlimited opportunity. Elvira's son could then grow up and buy his mother a house in Mexico where he can come and visit anytime. But, that won't happen if she's in jail or prison.

We need a Constitutional amendment denying citizenship to anchor babies born to illegal aliens unless one of the parents is a legal citizen. Elivira Arellano is an example. After entering the country illegally she was working at Chicago's O'Hare airport under a false social security number when deported nine years ago. She immediately sneaked back across the border and became pregnant. INS caught up with her and sought to deport her again for the felons of working under a false social security number then sneaking across the border illegally after being deported. Arellano says she likes it here and will not leave. Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago is giving her sanctuary saying it would be cruel to separate her from her 7 year-old son. INS has chosen not to enter the church to deport her.

Illegal aliens should not be permitted to blackmail the U.S. government that way. Arellano is the one entirely to blame for her predicament, and it's her choice whether to leave her son or take him with her, not INS. If Arellano has no family in the U.S. as she claims, where is the child's father? She doesn't even speak English, which proves she has no intention of assimilating as legal immigrants while thumbing her nose at our Rule of Law.

Citizenship should not be bestowed upon babies born to illegal aliens. I don't think that's what our Constitution intended, and opens floodgates to illegal women deliberately becoming pregnant to stay in the U.S. Deporting or incarcerating Arellano for the felons she committed would be no different that incarcerating any woman with children. Is EVERY mother who commits any felon to be pardoned to prevent separating her from her children?

Hello Ms Mitchell,

The Latino community and the African American community should band together. When Arellano compared herself to Rosa Parks, as an African American woman, I agreed with her. In the 1950's, Rosa Parks actions were 'illegal' becasue she refused to give up her seat to a white man. In 2006, Arellano actions are considered 'illegal', by refusing to be deported. We are trying to assign the ideas of the the civil rights movement to a particular person or a specific group of people. And in doing so, it demostrates our own racism. As a people, we gave the ideals of Civil Rights to the world and as a 'gift' we should understand that other people will find strength from our struggles and find power in our acomplishments. Arellano found courage from our civil rights demostrations of the 1950's. I think such comparisons gives examples and demostrates are similiarities as human beings.
I do agree with Arellano in many ways. The United States immigration laws and procedures I think are completely unfair to Latinos and the poor. People have bought their way into this country and tried to destroy it, as we saw with 9/11. I think Arellano and Latino community should continue to protest, and if the Latino community find courage from the acts of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and other demostrators from our past,..well I say more power to them.

She's illegal period. She still defies the laws of the land!

"The last thing a Latino immigrant wants to be in America is a black person."

Let me correct you. The last thing a Latino immigrant wants to be in America is a black MAN." Using that phrase would be more accurate. A black man is twice as likely to have his rights assaulted because of two factors over which he has no control: the color of his skin (he is more likely to be discriminated against for employment and in criminal court) and the presence of a penis (he is more likely to be discriminated against in a criminal court as well as in the family courts). However, those are arguments for another time.

"Besides being here illegally, Arellano, who is a single mother, was caught using someone else's Social Security number."

Had Ms. Arellano not broken a just law to work here, I would have fewer arguments with her position. However, she did break a just law and therefor has rendered her arguments moot.

Let me use an example. Let's pretend that Rosa Parks were a man (let's call him Rob Parks). If, instead of merely sitting in the back of the bus and only breaking an unjust law, Rob had assaulted a white man in the front of the bus and took his seat, he would not have been a civil rights hero. Instead, he would have been a criminal guilty of assault. Do you see my point?

By breaking a just law and infringing on the rights of an innocent person (i.e. committing identity theft) so that she could break an unjust law, she has determined her fate. If she wanted to make a statement by coming into the country illegally and finding work without infringing on the rights of an innocent person, I would have no problems with that. I know that our immigration system is a mess. It's difficult for many to survive in their home countries while trying to enter our country legally. I do have a problem with people infringing on the rights of innocent people, though.

For that reason, I think that she should be deported (or at least convicted of the crime and forced to serve a sentence that any other idenity theif would serve).

With regards to what Richard S. said about our foreign policy, I might remind him that there are millions of immigrants who come here from countries that are not as poverty stricken as he might want to think. We can't just focus on one particular country. We live in country with 30+ million immigrants.

"It seems Americans want to have it both ways…we want our capitalistic-market economy…we want to pay the low prices…we exploit and oppress other countries in the process…when people in those countries want to live in America then we say “jump through these hoops� or outright “no�."

That's true. We can't have it both ways. So next time you go down to your local supermarket to pick up a loaf of bread to make a PB&J, thank the government for the unjust laws. Next time you drive on a paved road, thank the government for the unjust laws. Next time your wife or daughter goes to a doctor for birth control, thank the government for the unjust laws. Next time (if there was a first time) you travel to a foreign country, thank the government for the foresight to create a military to police the world. Next time you go on a vacation cruise, thank the government for a coast guard that tries to keep pirates at bay. Next time you go to work, thank the government for unjust laws that make it possible for you to be employed.

The fact is Richard, we are never going to have a perfect world. It is awfully convenient of you to take for granted the priveleges (and yes, they are priveleges) that you seem to be taking for granted. If you would really like to have some credibility, maybe you should leave the country permanently and then fight against the government's policies. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

It is unbelievable that there is so much being said that is so irrelevant to what Mary Mitchell's article was about. She was simply stating that Elvira is breaking the law being in the country illegally. That is the truth, like it or not, Elvira has no legal right to be in this country. True she wants to take care of her son who is American born, true she worked for a living to take care of her son, true she is hardworking, but at the end of the day she is not an American citizen legally. We may never agree with the laws our country, but we must try to honor the laws. I feel bad for the family of Elvira and her son, but the truth of the matter is that she will eventually get deported back to Mexico. Continue to pray for her and her family that God will make the transformation easy for her and her family.

My, my, my, Ms. Mitchell. The tone of resentment and jealousy in your editorial does not become you. You make it seem as if Ms. Arellano is personally responsible for "taking back" affirmative action twenty years. Additionally, Ms. Mitchell, you should feel proud, not angry, that the legacy of Rosa Parks has been one of the first history lessons this immigrant woman has learned about America. Yes, it is true. Ms. Arellano may not be Rosa Parks, but my dear Ms. Mitchell, you are no Marcus Garvey, Ghandhi, or King. They would not have sided with the status quo and a government that has no idea of fair play with any underrepresented groups. I'm afraid, Ms Mitchell, that you might soon be recruited as a spokesperson for the radical Minute Men. Perhaps a couple of days of cuffing undocumented people, and hoarding them in old public school buses might make you feel better. However, your interest in history is a plus for my continuing readership of your column. But I would have you note, that raising the important Civil Rights history issue, may have exposed your prejudice and ignorance more than you know. How much do you know about Mexican history? Is there any historically significant Mexican woman you can discuss? How aware are you about Texas, California, Arizona, and other states having been once part of Mexico, and through the perverted idea of "Manifest Destiny" Native Nations, and other poeples, (who arrived BEFORE the pilgrims) were robbed of lands, language, dignity?

Look around you, Ms. Mitchell. Who's cleaning the toilets in your office? Who's making the beds in the nice hotel rooms you stay in? Who's cooking the meals in any restarurant you might dine in tonight? Yes, Mexicans. They pay taxes and get NO benefits.

There is no doubt in my mind that the benefits so many other immigrant groups have garnered (which benefits they currently receive from the government I am in a quandry to know) where purchased with "black blood, sweat, and tears." However, let's not forget the Chinese, who were the West's "slaves" and indentured servants, or the Puerto Ricans and the Puerto Rican women who were forcibly sterilized and were a source of cheap imported labor in the 1940's and 1950's.

I don't know if you are a religious woman, Ms. Mitchell. But in my mind isn't it a marvelous thing to take to task the Religious Right who promote family values, but do not fund contraceptives, abortions, and are cutting social and educational services for women and children? Might Ms. Arellano's asking for sanctuary put a light on the hipocrisy of Right Winged Christians in this country who promote democracy and freedom, and love of neighbor (but only if you're White?) Might your anger be displaced? Imagine, for a moment, if a runaway Black slave would have been denied sanctuary in a Quaker's place of worship or home? How many might have survived?

Ms. Mitchell. You are the one exploiting Ms. Arellano's situation. With your sharp words of non-empathy YOU are the one undermining the fragil coalition of Blacks and Latinos. I have no readership. Ms. Arellano has no readership. You do. And with this column you have given permission for Black Americans to side with those who oppresssed them. Hopefully, YOU will brush up on Latino history, and on the side, read the words of the imminent Ralph Ellison who said, "America is woven of many strands. I would recognise them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many. This is not a prophesy, but description."


Y. Nieves


If I decide to move to Mexico, I'll make sure I do as you suggest. Unfortunately, your missive illustrates why many of us don't discuss anything that has to do with race or ethnicity. My point, and I'm sticking to it, is that Arellano is using an African-American icon to justify her illegal status. That's just wrong.

Your column on this matter really upset me. As I was heading north on Damen avenue, I passed the projects right passed the United Center and low and behold what did I see? I saw a few African American's, who you say we should thank for paving the way, etc, sitting outside at 7 am, looking like they had no place to go, smoking and drinking, while a Hispanic man was picking up the garbage that was strewn about. And you say we should be thanking them? No way!


Obviously, I wasn't talking about "A few African Americans sitting outside at 7 am, looking like they had no place to go, smoking and drinking" but then you know that, don't you?



What does that have to do with Arellano's predicament?

What everyone is overlooking is that she broke the law...plain and simple. She used a false social security card. For that alone she should be deported or arrested. What gives her the right to stay in this country after doing that. Yes I understand she does not want to be seperated from her son. Well she should not have kept doing things illegally. She wants everyone to overlook the the everything she has done wrong. She has no right to invoke the names of Dr King or Rosa Parks..just as Jesse Jackson does not have the right to. They fought for equal rights without seeking the glory or saying look at me. They did it because it was the right thing to do.

Mrs Michell with all my respect for you as a Journalist.Why are you making the rhetorics coments and comparisons between Mrs Arellano and Mrs. Rosa Louise Mccauliey Parks?
Both of them break the law Mrs Arellano Break the Inmigration Law (coming illegally to this Country, using fake documents, etc) for a better living for her.
Mrs. Rosa Parks break the law for civil desobedience on Chapter 6 section 11 meaning she refused to obey a bus driver with police powers to assign seats on their bus.
This is part of the History right. Present and Past.
I encourage you that you should communicate the faces of Illegal Immigration, Civil rights, American History on your column rather than instigate, provoking fear, and anger between communities.

I am hoping that this constructive positive criticism it will help you to be a better Journalist.


Sorry. I disagree with your point. Rosa Parks sat in her so-called assigned seat and was ordered to get up and give that seat to a white man. She refused. You are also discounting the fact that Rosa Parks was an American citizen, not an illegal immigrant.


Why are you so protective of Rosa Parks' legacy? Can't you see that she did pave the way for every American (Black and Hispanic in this instance) struggle? Much of what Elvira Arellano is fighting for is right in line with the whole civil rights spirit. Of course they are not exactly the same, but that's where the word solidarity comes in.

Why are you so afraid to unite like minded struggles to give each of them strenghth? I'm sick and tired of blacks putting down hispanics and vice versa (I agree that I see a lot of Hispanics show bigotry, if not outright racism, towards Blacks). Our histories are so intertwined that it's a shame that neither community really sees it. I'm also perplexed by how much you're going out of your way to point out that Mrs. Parks was an American citizen and that Elvira Arellano is an illegal immigrant. Why is Rosa Parks being an American citizen such a big deal? I'm an American citizen and I don't boast about it, especially since I know that I'm only an American citizen on paper, just like Mrs. Parks was. I know that I will never truly enjoy the so-called American dream because of the color of my skin or my last name, just like Mrs. Parks and all of the civil rights era Blacks did not. But if you insist on thinking that your struggle is so precious that it shouldn't be muddied by mine, then I will dare tell you that you don't know a thing about what your or my struggle means.


It would be pure arrogance on my part to tell you what your struggle has been. By that same token, it is offensive for someone who is in the country illegally to co-opt that movement to justify their actions.

Wow Mary,

I just read your reply to Y. Nieves. You said, "If I decide to move to Mexico, I'll make sure I do as you suggest." Do you know how ignorant and arrogant that statement really is? You sound like a Klansman wondering why Black History is taught at all or even mentioned. Mexican history is not only relevant in Mexico. It's relevant to what is happening in this country every day, I thought you would be smart enough to figure that out, but apparently I have overestimated your intelect. As a fan of your column, that is very disappointing.


Again, there's no comparison between Klansman and black history and a reader telling me I ought to study Mexican history? Certainly if I decide to relocate to Mexico or Canada or Africa, I will indeed study the region's history.

I often wonder;whatever happened to the white man that wanted the seat?Do you think he felt honored to be a footnote in history.I don't like a lot of laws that we have but I follow them because I don't want to go to jail.Why do so many people get so riled up about the word illegal.This country was built on illegal activities.But not many blacks can state that the immigration issue is cause for their concern.It's hard to come to this country from other countries unlike Mexicans do.If you come by plane nowadays they keep some tabs on you. But if you slip across the border you have free range. But no one will hire anyone illegal unless they know it's okay and this government knows that it's okay to hire illegals.If it wasn't they would impose stiff fines on the owners of the companies and put them out of business.But why put your "campaign contributer" out of business? People used to rail about sweat shops in other countries.Now they have them here and they don't have to worry about importing it to this country any longer.Yeah Mexicans do the job that blacks won't do because if they were legal they would want better pay too.I hear how some illegals work a whole day and get stiffed on their pay or get hurt and their "employers" "fire" them instead of helping them out on the medical end.Yeah ,illegals have a lot to be mad about.But it's not a black and Mexican issue.I think it is wrong to compare yourself with just about anyone in history because all circumstances are different.I can't say they treat me like a slave when I'm asked to do things on my "paying" job.No slave ever got paid. I can't say I feel like a fugitive or a refugee because I've been neither.Why do hispanics hate black people so much.Is it because everyone pretends to "act" black until keeping it real goes wrong.Chris Rock said it best; that nobody wants to be black ,like him,and he's rich.No one wants to be black or compare themselves with black people until it serves a purpose.It's a shame that people can't accept others for who they are.Everything is built on assumptions and racial profiles.I can care less if you're black,white,brown or green.I'm a black man but I can't say african- american because most africans show a disdain for black people.My skin is brown but hispanics like to be referred to as brown people.So I'll stick with black. I think we should treat each other with some respect and let's figure out why there has to be so much hate between the masses.

Mexican President Fox was right. Mexicans will do the jobs that black people -or any non-Hispanic for that matter - won't do in this country.
You don't see Mexican people hanging around the liquor stores in the middle of the day the way they do in black neighborhoods!

What about studying world history Mary? Don't you think that the history of the countries of the world is relevant to people living in the United States? The way you make it sound, people living in the US live in a vacuum; let the rest of the world be damned. It's becoming clear that you are suffering from "foot in mouth" syndrome, and like the current administration, want to stay the course with your ignorant view of the situation. The more you write about it, the more convoluted your argument becomes and makes less sense with every word that you type.


Yes, Edgar, I've studied "World History." Now what is your point?

No point Mary, if you haven't gotten it yet, I don't think you ever will. I just hope your views are not past on to future generations so that one day we as a society can be as welcoming as you make yourself out to be.



No Mexicans will not stand around corners, but they will push out babies like rabbits and live 10 people in a 2 bedroom apartment without electricity, burn down a man's apartment building, won't learn English and somehow turn the story around to make the landlord and Commonwealth Edison the villian.


First of all, there are Mexicans who stand around corners just like there are blacks and whites who stand around corners. As for the other stereotypes in this e-mail, they're just that. Yes, there are Mexicans who haven't learned English, but there are plenty who have. As for living 10 people in a 2-bedroom apartment, more power to those who can make the sacrifice. At the end of the year, they've saved enough to buy their own apartment building.

Finally, the last remark about burinng down a man's apartment building in a tragedy that killed six children is not only distasteful, but disgusting. I posted this e-mail just so other bloggers can see that I'm not making up the fact that there are some really mean-spirited people in this community.

But in the future, this kind of blatant stereotyping just won't get posted.

Edward you should be getting mad at Pres. Bush and Mex.Pres.Vincente Fox for letting Mexico spiral into a place where everyone would want to "escape"'I see Ms.Mitchell trying to be fair by stating te facts in this case .She(ms.Mitchell) is not the enemy ,the embarassment should be on the mexican govt. for allowing rampant corruption and crime in their country.Again you are doing just what the white man wants you to do, fight among each other while they sit back and laugh!Remember now that it s harder to employ illegals ,whites have no use for you other then to let you do there dirty work of talking negatively about a good person like Ms.Mitchell,Trust me Edgar if you really knew how whites felt about mexicans and other minorities
you would apologize to her,she did not cause this issue ,it was caused by BUSH'S screwed up immigration policies and Vicente Fox weak leadership,it is bad when someone like the mexican pres. encourages his own citizens to sneek illegally into America.!

I say “thank you Elvira Arellano� for reminding we Americans about how blessed we are. And I also say “stay around for awhile longer.� so that you can continue to speak for the 11 million plus illegal aliens who already reside and work in the U.S.

As everyone already knows:

• Elvira Arellano, in her first attempt to illegally sneak into the U.S., was soon caught and deported.

• Elvira Arellano in her second attempt to illegally sneak into the U.S., was this time successful, though her initial illegal entry and deportation made her ineligible for reentry into the U.S.

• Elvira Arellano had never bothered to apply for a U.S. visa, not even a working visa, but yet was able to reap seven years worth of benefits from being in the U.S.

• Elvira Arellano has already proclaimed her intention to reap many more years worth of benefits.

• Elvira Arellano has been in the U.S. for nine years and has yet to even begin learning English.

• Elvira Arellano decided that because she believes that she has the right to stay and work in the U.S., she can defy our government and claim sanctuary from deportation by hiding in a church.

• Elvira Arellano claims that her deportation will separate her from her child, though there is nothing that is stopping her from taking her child with her to Mexico.

• Elvira Arellano claims that separating her from her child is inhumane but has said that "she is willing to sit in jail for 20 years." if need be.

• Elvira Arellano founded United Latino Families in order to spotlight the similar plights of illegal immigrant families like hers.

And her list goes on.

So I say, let’s allow Elvira Arellano to stay a little bit longer. In addition to reminding Americans how blessed we are, she can also continue to represent the 11 million plus illegal aliens already in the U.S. so that when the verdict of her case is announced, it can be heard as loud, as clear, and as wide-reaching as possible. Elvira Arellano claims to be the poster child in defense of illegal aliens already in the U.S., but in actuality, she is the poster child for WHY WE HAVE immigration policies in the first place. Her verdict can be understood without question by every U.S. citizen and illegal alien alike. If the U.S. government won’t deport those who enter under those conditions in which Elvira Arellano did, then who can we deport? If the U.S. government fails to deport, at the very least, Elvira Arellano, then this is proof that our U.S. immigration policy does not exist. Although Elvira Arellano is a reminder of the opportunities that the U.S. offers to rich and poor alike, making this country still the most desirable immigration destination, those exactly like her are who our immigration restriction policies were specifically designed for. Elvira Arellano, by bypassing the system that we set up to welcome those who enter legally, is the personification of how potential immigrants become illegal aliens. So, let’s allow Elvira Arellano to stay a bit longer and represent the 11 million plus illegal aliens already residing and working in the U.S. so that when our government boots her out, every illegal alien will hear loud and clear that during post 9-11, you can’t just come into the U.S. by simply walking across the border, faking a Social Security number, and then hoping that no one notices you.

The U.S. standard of living that illegal aliens find so desirable are high only because of the laws that they circumvented. It’s time for the U.S. government to uphold our immigration laws. It’s time for Americans to stop taking our blessings for granted. And it’s time for those who desire to be American citizens to get back in line so the laws that have made this country so desirable to live in are still in place for them to uphold.

Rodolfo: A Naturalized Citizen Who Stood In Line

Truth DH,

Believe me, I feel plenty of disdain and contempt for the current American administration and their Mexican counterparts. The newly elected Mexican president will be no better. I also blame Clinton and the former Mexican president Salinas who let NAFTA go through. NAFTA is the real cause of all this illegal immigration from Mexico.

The only reason I went after Ms. Mitchell was for her portrayal and demonization of a victim, Mrs. Arellano. I accept the fact that she has broken many laws, desperate people tend to do that when there are no other alternatives. It is naive to think that she should go back to Mexico and fight against corruption there, and in the meantime have her son starve to death because there are no viable alternatives for her and others in Mexico. The laws Ms. Arellano broke are arbitrary and racist at best.

Bottom line, no matter how any of us feel about the whole immigration subject, people will continue to come across the border because of the human instinct to strive for survival.

African americans were bought here against their will but we stayed and contributed to this great country(read african american inventors it) our present administration edgar is in the mist of dismantaling our citizens civil rights under the guise of preventing terrorism so I feel they are trying to make Elvira a "example"on how they are so concerned withprotecting our borders...I read everything you said I just get kind of protective when I perceive someone giving Ms, Mitchell a unfair deal(somehow I feel she can handle herself)smile.I dont agree with everything she says but she has been more then fair even when racists and "crazoids"attempted to provoke her with all kinds of nonsense.She should be praised for her gumption to address a nd comment on the issues that our society face while others shun away from them.Hopefully you will realize african-americans are not the enemy,I just feel sometimes we are pitted against each other while others sit back with glee and watch us fight.African-americans can relate to what Ms .arellano is going through it is just she like us must follow the law.(we dont get a break on anything,Edgar)

I don't think African-Americans are the enemy. I feel very connected to your struggle because I have studied how the Black and Hispanic struggles on this continent are very much in parallel with each other. Very different, but very parallel at the same time. That is what I've been trying to get across to Mary Mitchell this whole time.

I feel the same way as you, we are pitted against each other whole others benefit from our fighting. I know all about the law and how it must be followed, I try to. However, whenever there are unjust laws, such as the current Visa limits and other arbitrary immigration laws, a stand must sometimes be taken. Elvira Arellano is taking that stance. Civil disobedience is the ultimate act of freedom.

Since when is the church, of any denomination, in a position to tell us which governmental laws we are to obey and which laws we are to deem unfair, thus giving us the clear conscience to ignore them?

The church is supposed to support its members spiritually, giving assistance to the poor when necessary, and to teach its members to become more like Christ. Christ taught humility, humbleness, meekness, and obedience. Jesus never taught disobedience or that you can pick and choose the laws you wish to obey.

We have watched as, sadly, churches became the sanctuary for pedophiles. Is the church now willing to shelter all forms of illegality? They will if this is allowed to continue or if activists have their way because the Chicago Tribune is reporting:

In a sign that immigrant leaders hope to elevate Arellano's situation, the group that has helped organize major street marches in Chicago urged immigrants all over the country Thursday to follow Arellano's example and seek sanctuary in their local churches.

Yes. The leftists and illegal immigrant activists are all over this one, suddenly adopting the belief that perhaps there shouldn't be a separation of church and state after all. At least, not when the church can serve their agenda.

The Church is supposed to be a place where people can go to acknowledge, confess, repent, and turn away from their sins, not a place to hide from them.

Arellano is no Rosa Parks. She is greater than Rosa Parks. Lets talk lagalities. Half of Mexico's property was stolen. Illegal. Arellano is in this country illegally. Return the stolen lands of Mexico to the Mexicans and then send Arellano back to Mexico. It would indeed be but a bus ride.

Arellano is no Rosa Park and is not injustice to send her back to Mexico because she has broken all immigration rules already. Other people that are also immigrants are being deported, but yet Elvira is still here no matter what. My question is why is she any more special than any of the other persons who are being deported? Just because she has a son who was born here doesn't mean that she has the right to stay here. Most of the illegal immigrants who are in this country have kids who are born here and they still get deported, but she doesn't its not fair for all the other people. I think immigration should just go to the church were she's at and deport her to Mexico.. Because if immigration let's her stay here would be the stupist thing to do because it would be like saying it's okay to break all the rules it doesn't matter you can still get your residency it's just not fair.

Elvira is the modern day Rosa Parks! Elvira has an American son, pays American taxes, had an American job. Was Rosa Parks wrong for sitting in the front of the bus when she paid the same bus fair as the white person? NO, the Segragation law was WRONG!!! VIVA ELVIRA!!!

Elvira Arellano comited a crime by using somebody else's social security number and she should be procecured and then deported. My son and my self just became victms of people like her. She is trying to make her self a hero out of nothing. She acts like she is the only single mother in the whole world. There are a lots of single working mothers in the United States that work for a living and don't live out of our tax money like a lot of this illegal immigrants do. Right now they are the only ones that are having kids out of the tax payer's cost.

Rosa Arellano should be take out of the church and deported. The woman comited a crime by using other people's social security number. The church shoulnd't be protecting a criminal. This woman is using the kid as a shield. If the kid was born here he can always come back when he becames an adult.

I don't have anything against people coming to America, but do it legally. Why should some pay to become citizens or work to hava a passport while other like Elvira Arrellano wants it free of charge. Sorry Elvira everything has a price and your stay here is no exception pay the price, get a passport or go back to Mexico where you came from. If the reason you don't leave is because of your son take him with you others before you have done so. If more Mexicans would revolt against their own country instead of ours maybe you would have the same privileges over there in Mexico. I praise Mary for having this column and what we all should do is March against Elvira Arrellano and her bunch. We should demand that she be deported enough is enough.

To say in the beginning I am not a racist at all, but I do believe that you should do things the right way. I think if you come over here illegally you should be deported. Some illegals do come over here to have a better life, but what about the others who come and put forth the destroying of our economy? Everything that has happened in the past made us a stronger nation today, so why should we let others come over here and deteriorate what we have worked so hard to become? If they really wanted to do the right thing, they would start by coming over here legally. It is not like we are saying nobody cannot come over and live here, we're trying to keep things organized, and in a manner where the people who are already living here still has a chance. We do not have a golden place to live, but we strive for it.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on August 23, 2006 12:20 PM.

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