Immigrant wins illegal voting case, granted residency

A Filipino immigrant who faced deportation for illegally registering to vote and casting a ballot can now stay in the U.S.
Elizabeth Keathley of Bloomington, Ill., who came to the U.S. in 2003, registered to vote in 2006 through the “motor voter” law – even though she was not a citizen. Last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared her of wrongdoing, and a Department of Justice immigration judge has approved her permanent residence, the Chicago Tribune reported. The court accepted Keathley’s testimony that an employee at the DMV rushed her through the driver’s license application process, during which she was asked if she was interested in registering to vote. After receiving her voter registration card, Keathley voted in the 2006 congressional election. During a citizenship interview that December, she was asked if she had voted.

For generations of immigrants, opportunity comes before equality

The families of what is now known as Hero Street were shunned. They were forced to live in railroad boxcars, without electricity or plumbing, on an unpaved street. Snow blew through the cracks in the walls in winter. The street turned to mud when it rained. The kids who grew up there still remember the other school kids calling them “dirty Mexicans.” They remember being made fun of when their parents pulled them out of school to go top onions in the fields across the Mississippi, in Iowa.

Maricela Haro

County official: Sentence for immigration fraud ‘bittersweet’

A Chicago woman who posed as an immigration attorney, promising her clients they would become legal permanent residents, was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for stealing money from undocumented Latino immigrants. Maricela Haro pled guilty to 19 counts of “theft of property obtained by deception” for defrauding 19 people. Her victims said she also charged them $2,500 application fees and claimed her brother was a high-ranking U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service official who could help them obtain legal residency. She has been held at the Cook County Jail since her arrest last October. The case is a rare glimpse into a problem that plagues immigrant communities.

Elvira Arellano

Elvira Arellano detained after crossing border in protest

Chicago immigration activist Elvira Arellano, named Time Magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year, crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally Tuesday with her U.S.-born son Saul and Emiliano, her 4-month-old baby. “This is a way to protest President Obama,” Arellano told The Chicago Reporter in a phone interview before she crossed. “The only thing he’s given immigrant families is two million deportations.”
According to another activist at the border, Arellano was detained by authorities. Because she has a deportation order in her record, she may face criminal charges for illegal re-entry. The status of her son and baby are not known, and a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman would not confirm information about Arellano or her children, citing privacy laws.

Former Chicagoans among latest young immigrant ‘Dreamers’

When Maria Reveles heard young undocumented immigrants in Mexico were organizing to cross the U.S. border in an act of civil disobedience, she called contacts in Chicago and asked them to bring her son back. Her son, 22-year-old Luis Manuel, was brought to Chicago illegally when he was 5 years old. He eventually attended Curie Metropolitan High School and graduated from Bolingbrook High School. But without a Social Security card, he was unable to apply for grants and scholarships that would have made college affordable. So he moved back to Mexico City in 2011 to further his education.