Friday, May 16, 2008

Flor in her own words

By: Raul Gomez. Emille Scheppers contributed to this story.

Flor Crisostomo, is the new person at Adalberto Methodist Chuch in the West Town and Humboldt Park communities of Chicago, where Elvira Arellano was in sanctuary until arrested in Los Angeles last summer.

Mrs. Crisostomo is from the Zapotec Native American group in Mexico's Southern State of Oaxaca. She was one of the thousand or more employees of IFCO Pallet Company arrested in April 2006, and has exhausted all legal appeals to stay in United States, and received the famous letter ordering her to report for deportation. Her children are back in Mexico, so her situation does not hinge on the issue of US citizen children, but they do depend on her remittances to survive.

She is trying to draw attention to the role of US trade and economic policies, like NAFTA in impoverishing the Mexican countryside and thereby contributing to the undocumented immigration situation, as well as to the problems with US immigration law and the raids. They quote her as wanting to end the system of undocumented labor without mentioning that she means by legalization of the undocumented and changes in US and Mexican trade policy.

What follows are statements that Mrs. Crisostomo shared with me, Raul Gomez, a high school student at El Cuarto Año, a school in Humboldt Park, a community in Chicago:

How can it be that in this stage of the struggle people don't understand that the person with fewer benefits is me? I don’t have kids that are US citizens or a husband who is a citizen. And I would never have married in order to get legal status.

In this part of the struggle, I practically had to take a definite step to bring attention to what’s going on within our community.

The support is really strong within this community above all because of the Puerto Ricans. But more than anything this campaign is to raise political consciousness. Political education is what our people need.

For many people it’s easy to ask: Why did she take refuge in the church? What she wants to do is legalize her status.

I am a refugee and I will be one until they respect the community. What I’m doing is not for me. It’s for my family that’s here undocumented and my people that are undocumented. This is why I’m doing this act, if you want to call it, of rebellion. The only thing left for me is arrest and deportation and I don’t want the same things to keep on happening.

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