Son of Illegal Immigrant Who Took Refuge in Church Heading to Mexico to Seek Support

The 7-year-old son of an immigration activist who took refuge in a church to avoid being deported is heading to Mexico on Sunday to seek the support of national legislators.

Saul Arellano, who is an American citizen, is scheduled to meet with members of the Mexican House of Representatives and the Mexican Senate on Tuesday in an effort to get a resolution supporting Elvira Arellano's bid to stay in the United States.

Elvira Arellano was supposed to surrender to federal authorities for deportation to Mexico in mid-August. Instead, she took refuge at the Adalberto United Methodist Church.

"It's just another added pressure," said Emma Lozano, executive director of the immigration-rights group Centro Sin Fronteras, who will accompany the boy to Mexico. "We really believe Mexico could use its influence more in supporting people like Elvira."

Lozano and Saul will meet with Mexican human rights activist Rosario Ibarra, who is also a member of the Senate, in an effort to enlist her support.

The boy has been speaking at conferences and writing letters to political figures including President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox, asking for help.

Arellano has said deporting her would effectively deport her son, and violate his rights.

She was arrested in 1997 soon after crossing into the United States and was sent back to Mexico.

She returned and was arrested again in 2002 and was convicted of working as a cleaning woman at O'Hare International Airport under a false Social Security number.