Arrogant Mexican criminal vows to ‘stand ground’

BY KARA SPAK

Flor Crisostomo, an illegal immigrant from Mexico arrested at a workplace raid in Chicago in 2006, speaks in Adalberto United Methodist Church where she sought sanctuary Monday to avoid deportation.

Saying she hoped the fear of God would keep federal agents away, undocumented immigrant Flor Crisostomo on Monday vowed to stay in a Humboldt Park church indefinitely to keep Congress focused on immigration reform.

Tears streaming down her cheeks, a defiant Crisostomo said she did not believe she was breaking U.S. law, nor did she see herself as hiding.

Arrested in an immigration raid in April 2006, she was ordered to leave the country voluntarily by Jan. 28. Crisostomo sought “sanctuary” in the Adalberto United Methodist Church, the same church that housed undocumented immigrant Elvira Arellano and Arellano’s U.S.-born son Saul, for more than a year.

“I am taking a stand of civil disobedience to make America see what they are doing,” Crisostomo said in a statement that was translated into English. Speaking in broken English, she said immigrants are not terrorists but hard-working people contributing to the economy.

“The real problem is the color and the language,” she said.

U.S. immigration officials saw the issue differently, releasing a statement that said Crisostomo was given a voluntary departure order Oct. 12, 2006. After an appeal failed in December 2007, she was given 60 more days to leave the country on her own.

“Ms. Crisostomo will be taken into custody at an appropriate time and place with consideration given to the safety of all involved,” read the statement released by Gail Montenegro, spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Children back in Mexico

Montenegro said that it is also illegal to “knowingly harbor an illegal alien,” and those who do so can be subject to criminal prosecution.

Unlike Arellano, who was living with her son, Saul, at the church, Crisostomo’s three children, ages 14, 11 and 9, live with their grandmother in Mexico.

Crisostomo, 28, left her children in Guerrero, Mexico, seven years ago to work illegally in the United States. She was arrested April 19, 2006, during an immigration raid at a pallet factory where she earned $300 a week.

Arellano lived in the church for more than a year. She left in August 2007 to attend an immigration rally in California, where federal authorities arrested and deported her.

Numerous portraits of Arellano hang inside the church, and she called the press conference from her Mexican home to wish Crisostomo luck.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/764374,CST-NWS-refuge29.article 

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