Through tears, Flor Crisostomo pleaded her case Monday, saying that she is in the US illegally in order to support her three children back in Mexico.
"Let's look at Flor. She's a single mom here without her childrenm and you think that she wants to leave them behind?" said Illinois Rep. Cynthia Soto, (D) Chicago.
Crisostomo was arrested in 2006 as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration. She was working at the time for a company called IFCO Systems, a pallet manufacturer. Now she has come to Adalberto United Methodist Church, 2716 W. Division, as a last resort, having exhausted her legal options.
Through a translator, Crisostomo says she is being made an example.
"I will not present myself as a symbol of fear. Instead, I'm going to continue to give energy to others so that North America and the world see what this government does to 12 million human beings and their families. And I'm not leaving," said Crisostomo.
Adalberto is the same church that provided refuge to Elvira Arellano and her son, Saulito. Arellano stayed for more than year, but she was deported after she left the church to take part in an immigration event in California.
In this case, Crisostomo is in the US, but her children are not. The pastor is at Adalberto is Chicago activist Reverend Walter Coleman. He says providing sanctuary is warranted because he believes immigration policy and trade agreements are faulty.
"The reality that we face is a government that arbitrarily tortures and terrorizes and drives 12 million people in this country into lower and more and more invisible conditions," said Rev. Walter Coleman, Adalberto United Methodist Church,
Crisostomo herself questions if her case would be handled differently if she wasn't Latino.
"The real problem is the color or the language," said Crisostomo.
A spokesperson for US Immigration and Customs says its agents will enforce the laws, but there is no word that they plan to forcibly remove Flor Crisostomo.