CHICAGO – American-born 8-year-old Saul Arellano, who took refuge in a Chicago church with his mother to avoid her deportation, lobbied Congress Wednesday to help bring her back to the United States.
Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was deported last month when she left the church where she lived with her son for a year to avoid a deportation order.
Saul Arellano led about 150 pro-immigration activists and children through the halls of Congress carrying a sign "Born in the U.S.A. Don't take our moms and dads away." Capitol Hill Police arrested two activists for disorderly conduct.
Elvira Arellano emerged as a leading voice — albeit a controversial one — in the fight for the legalization of Mexicans seeking U.S. citizenship. Arellano took this position as she intentionally evaded capture from federal agents who first deported her in 1997, then arrested her in Chicago five years ago for stealing a Social Security number to get a job.
"Elvira has really been a terrible poster child for this cause; she broke into this country twice. she stole American jobs. She stole identities," said Rosanna Pulido, spokeswoman for the American Hispanics Against Illegal Immigration.
Despite Elvira Arellano's deportation last month when she left the church to attend an immigration rally in Los Angeles, her cause continues to be championed by her son, who remains in the United States with his godmother.
"We need to stop this madness. This hate ... We all want to be here. We all want our families to stay together. And there is really no reason why this can't happen," said Emma Lozano, Saul Arellano's godmother.
Anti-illegal immigration activists say the boy is being exploited for a wrong-headed cause: the legalization of some 12 million illegal immigrants.
"He's being sacrificed. What are the ramifications of using him as a human shield?" Pulido asked.
When supporters of Saul Arellano led the boy to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's congressional office to deliver a letter, he was clearly overcome by the noise and crush of people and cameras.
Elvira Arellano has insisted her son wants to take part in the immigration battle, that no one is taking advantage of him.
Elvira Arellano spoke to FOX News by phone in Mexico, responding to Latinos who say she has set back the immigration movement after breaking the law twice.
"It's only people who are ignorant who ignore the situation. I didn't have the opportunity to come legally. If I had the opportunity to come legally, I would have accepted it," she said.
Anti-immigration activists say, ironically, Elvira Arellano has helped "their" cause, by drawing attention to how some immigrants break laws to stay in the United States.
Meanwhile, Elvira says her son will move to Mexico and start schools next month. Together, she vows they'll continue their immigration crusade, but from the other side of the border.
FOX News' Jeff Goldblatt contributed to this report.