On the Okayplayer message board, the reaction over Elvira Arellano’s arrest was much different than my other online favorites. People like The Unapologetic Mexican and Daniel Hernandez have gloomy feeling posts and updates on the situation. MySpace bulletins included announcements about press conferences and protest rallies. They’re just words, but I can feel the anger from those guys and my other friends. I’m angry too.
My fellow blogger’s anger isn’t over Arellano defying deportation. Nope. It was about the manner in which she was arrested and quickly deported.
I didn’t expect this reaction on a message board I frequently read, Okayplayer. There, the reaction bordered on glee. One woman — who claimed to be liberal when it came to the whole immigration debate — called Arellano’s 8-year old son and anchor baby and was happy she had been deported. Others in the thread responded similarly. The only anger at Okayplayer came from comparison to Rosa Parks.
I’ll admit, many comparisons to Rosa Parks are flat out offensive and even comical (see Sarah Vowell’s essay on the topic, Rosa Parks C’est Moi in The Partly Cloudy Patriot). However, Arellano was doing something similar.
She was a young woman from Michoacán. She was openly defying this nation’s laws that she considered unjust and unfair. Her defiance of these laws was dangerous. Crossing the border is not easy and we know that being held in one of the ICE detention centers can be hazardous — even deadly — to your health. She’s part of a large movement considered by many as this nation’s newest Civil Rights Movement and is president of the organization La Familia Latina Unida and her right to take sanctuary in a church was supported by prominent national civil rights organizations like National Council of La Raza and League of United Latin American Citizens. Oh yeah, and she’s a Christian.
And the differences? Well, Arellano was not an American citizen or a permanent resident. She lived in a church in Chicago and was arrested in Los Angeles, cities with sizable populations of immigrants and Mexicans. Both cities are also more liberal when it comes to immigration policy which is much different than Montgomery, Alabama. Oh yeah, and she’s not black.
Is the law Arellano’s defying unjust? I say yes, but you all know where I stand on the immigration debate.