On the August 28th edition of Fox New's syndicated Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera advocated for an illegal immigrant single-mother trying to fight deportation with the help of a Chicago church. The piece cast illegal immigration foes as almost heartless as Rivera asked Pat Buchanan: "Isn't it impossible almost, not to be sympathetic to this mom and her son?" and "Pat isn't it a kind of bait and switch? We lure the illegals here with the promise of work and now we're telling them, either leave or be arrested?"
Rivera noted the deportation stems from a 2002 arrest of her using a fake social security number but then tried to justify it by saying she paid the taxes: "One quick note about using a fake social security number. The tax is paid into the federal government but it's never paid out. So Elvira was paying taxes." Rivera then went further saying that some compare her "to Rosa Parks and other icons of the civil rights movement."
Rivera opened the show from the Chicago church: "On a dark and stormy day I'm here in Chicago's West Side at a neighborhood church, the United Methodist church, where a courageous mother from Mexico, an illegal alien has sought sanctuary along with her seven-year-old son who was born here in the United States. I'll have their story in just a moment. Hi, everybody, I'm Geraldo Rivera here to cover the bitter and emotional battle in which some have actually suggested that the young woman, the illegal alien, abandon her son and go home to Mexico. We'll meet the embattled mother and her boy in a few minutes."
The following is a full transcript of the entire segment:
Rivera: "For more than two weeks this small storefront church on Chicago's West Side has been the epicenter of the emotional immigration debate. Before we meet the mother and child who've sought sanctuary in this holy place to avoid being deported as illegal aliens back to Mexico I'd like you to take a look at the background story that brought the mother and child here to the church. Elvira Arellano, a Mexican immigrant, single mother and a fugitive wanted by the U.S. government."
Elvira Arellano: "I am not terrorist. I am not criminal. I am mom."
Rivera: "Just over two weeks ago the 31-year-old illegal immigrant defied an order to report for deportation refusing to accept the punishment that could have separated her from her son, Saul, a U.S. citizen by birth on American soil."
Reverend Walter Coleman: "She said, ‘Pastor I want to fight this. I don't care for myself but I want my son to know that he's a child of God. He's not a piece of garbage that can be thrown away.'"
Rivera: "Reverend Walter Coleman heads a small church on Chicago's West Side where Elvira sought sanctuary. The holy place has become a focal point for supporters rallying against immigration laws that they believe are tearing families apart. Reverend Coleman never thought twice about defying the faith."
Rev. Coleman: "I fear God much more than I fear Homeland Security."
Rivera: "Despite overwhelming support Elvira's stand-off has infuriated the opposition."
Rick Bieseda: "The government should go in there and get her out of there and deport her."
Rivera: "Rick Bieseda is the director of the Chicago Minutemen Project. Because Elvira's deportation order resulted from a 2002 arrest for working with a fake social security number Bieseda believes that it's all the more reason to give Elvira the boot."
Bieseda: "Not only did she enter the country illegally, she, she broke the law. She obtained false documents. So why would you want to give a lawbreaker, a criminal that committed multiple crimes an exception? Why make an exception for her?"
Rivera: "One quick note about using a fake social security number. The tax is paid into the federal government but it's never paid out. So Elvira was paying taxes. But while her disobedience of the deportation order has some comparing her to Rosa Parks and other icons of the civil rights movement many others are unsympathetic, worried that cutting this particular family a break will set a path for other illegals to follow. Still it's hard to see what good could possibly come of deporting this mother and her seven-year-old, who wants only to grow up to be a Chicago fireman."
Rivera to Arellano: "Was the worst thing that you would have to leave your son?"
Arellano, through translator: "Yes I thought I did not have the heart or the feeling to leave him. I cannot leave him. I am his mother and he only has me."
Rivera: "What do you say to the people who say, why don't you take your son home to your own country?"
Arellano: "I could take him, I know, to my country and we won't die from hunger but he will most probably lose his English language and then he can return here in the future but by then he will return in the same way that I came here, without the education, without the same opportunities and he will have to struggle the same way that I did."
Rivera: "What's your dream, your inspiration then?"
Arellano: "For there to be a just and fair legalization for everybody here in the nation. Not just for myself but for everybody, for all families so that they will not go through any separations."
Rivera to child: "Are you afraid that they're gonna try and take your mommy away?"
Rivera: "Where would you stay? Who would you stay with?"
Saul: "I don't know."
Rivera: "Joining me now is the Reverend Walter Coleman. Reverend Coleman is the pastor here at the United Methodist church. He's the man who took in Elvira and Saul and he is the one who has granted them sanctuary. Via satellite a familiar face who wants the mom and her son, or at least the mom, sent back where she came from, Pat Buchanan joins us. He's the author as you know most recently of State of Emergency: How Illegal Immigration Is Destroying America. Padre thank you for being here. Pat, you as well. Pat to you first. Isn't it impossible almost, not to be sympathetic to this mom and her son?"
Pat Buchanan: "Well certainly you can be sympathetic to them and I surely am. They're in a difficult situation but at the same time, Geraldo, you can't allow the laws of the United States to be flagrantly violated by tens of millions or 12 million illegal aliens and you gotta enforce the laws of the United States. I think she should be returned to the country of origin since she came here by breaking the law."
Rivera: "Pat, let me ask the pastor how you feel. He says maybe not invade your church but get her out, she's an illegal."
Rev. Coleman: "She is one of 12 million people that are part of a system of undocumented labor that has been part of this country's economy and religious life and society for over a century. We have a broken law."
Rivera: "Pat isn't it a kind of bait and switch? We lure the illegals here with the promise of work and now we're telling them, either leave or be arrested?"
Buchanan: "Look the illegals, they knew what they did. They broke in line ahead of other people who have waited in line. They broke the law, they broke into our country, they are here illegally, they know it. And you cannot have people deliberately violating the law at an amnesty otherwise the rule of law itself collapses."
Rivera: "Pat I have to call it quits on that note. We're out of time."