- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2007

An 8-year-old boy led 200 chanting, singing immigration activists to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office yesterday armed with a letter begging the California Democrat to move quickly to stop deportations.

Saul Arellano, the son of recently deported illegal alien Elvira Arellano, has emerged as a leading icon in the immigration movement. Miss Arellano had promised to come to the District yesterday for an immigration-reform prayer vigil before being sent back to Mexico on Aug. 19.

But Saul, dressed in jeans and a blue-and-red sports shirt, showed up in her place. Accompanied by several TV cameras and a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he marched through the halls of the Cannon House Office Building to reach Mrs. Pelosi’s quarters on the second floor.

Once at the speaker’s office, Saul ran into a problem: Mrs. Pelosi’s office already was occupied by about 40 antiwar protesters who weren’t budging. The bewildered child stopped in his tracks while immigration activists clustered around him. A security guard inside the speaker’s office shut the door.

The immigration activists began shouting “Born in the USA,” and, in Spanish, “We feel Elvira is present.” The protesters inside the office picked up the chants, and six police officers quickly arrived with a bag of plastic handcuffs.

Meanwhile, Emma Lozano, a Chicago activist with Latino Families United, had produced a roll of Scotch tape and affixed the letter — along with a Spanish translation — to the door. Then, taking Saul by one hand, she pulled him away from the door, the cameras and the crowd.

It’s not clear whether Mrs. Pelosi will actually see the letter. A few minutes after the crowd dispersed for a prayer vigil on the west side of the Capitol, an aide removed it from the door. Drew Hammil, a Pelosi spokeswoman, said the speaker was in Portland, Ore., yesterday.

Mrs. Lozano said Saul will be returning to Mexico today, where he will attend school and live with his mother. Miss Arellano had lived at Adalberto Methodist Church in west Chicago as a fugitive before secretly driving to California for immigration rallies there. She was arrested in Los Angeles and subsequently deported.

At a press conference yesterday, which was organized by Chicago-based Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), Miss Arellano was compared to civil rights activists such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, as well as slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

“She will be in the pages of history as a heroine,” Mrs. Lozano said. Mrs. Lozano’s husband, Adalberto Methodist Church pastor the Rev. Walter Coleman, invoked Miss Arellano’s name in a prayer for the gathering. Addressing God, the minister labeled the deported woman “a messenger like others You have sent through the centuries.”

The rally was one of several across the country yesterday on behalf of Miss Arellano. Saul and about a dozen children with him at the Capitol Hill event chanted, “Born in the USA; don’t take my mommy and my daddy away,” referring to the plight of American-born children of deported parents.

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