Bishop Martinez Says Deported Mother
Gives a "Human Face" to Immigration Debate
New York, NY, August 24, 2007—Elvira Arellano, an undocumented mother, deported to Mexico a week ago by the United States, has given a “human face” to legal issues in the immigration law debate, according to the president of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.
Bishop Joel N. Martinez of San Antonio sees the Arellano case as moving that debate into the area of justice and mercy. The arrest and deportation on August 19 separated the mother from her eight year-old son, Saul, who is a U.S. citizen.
Ms. Arellano and Saul took sanctuary in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago from Aug. 15, 2006, to Aug. 16, 2007. They left the church to travel to California to promote immigration reform. She was arrested and deported by federal officers. Saul remains in Chicago with Emma Lozano and her husband, the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of the congregation of which Ms. Arellano is a member.
The bishop said that “Ms Arellano’s choice to love and care for her child, and thereby resist deportation, has reframed the undocumented immigration debate from narrow questions of legality to the greater human questions of justice and mercy.”
The need to keep families together is one of the goals set forth by the directors of the General Board of Global Ministries in recent statements on U.S. immigration law reform.
The full text of Bishop Martinez’ statement follows:
The General Board of Global Ministries has been called into global mission by the Lord of all the nations. We work across borders and divisions in the human family because in Christ there are no strangers, we are all brothers and sisters.
Ms. Arellano’s choice to love and care for her child, and thereby resist deportation, has reframed the undocumented immigration debate from narrow questions of legality to the greater human questions of justice and mercy.
She has given a human face to the tragedy experienced by families who live with fear in the midst of hope, who contribute their gifts in spite of frequent neglect and abuse, and who bring renewal and hope to many rural and urban places experiencing economic decline.
The church, which seeks to be a welcoming community, must continue to work with political, civic, and religious leaders for reform in our immigration laws. In the meantime, we must not erect walls of fear or steel or stone, but raise up communities of hope where understanding will replace dehumanizing rhetoric and where all will recognize Christ in the sojourner.
This is our mission as a church, this is our calling as a General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Aug 24, 2007