Arellano first crossed illegally into the United States in 1997 and was taken into custody and deported. She returned and lived in Oregon for three years before moving to Chicago. Two years later she was arrested at O’Hare Airport. Failing to report to immigration authorities, she sought sanctuary with her son Saul in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago’s West Side. The church is located at 2716 W Division St.
“Her crime was working for minimum wage cleaning out airplanes,” said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, where Arellano is lay leader. Arellano, an undocumented worker, decided to fight back. Adalberto United Methodist Church joined her.
According to Chicago Tribune's editorial (August 17, 2006) "That doesn't mean her example is helpful to their cause. It is not." 
Elvira Arellano was arrested on August 19, 2007 in Los Angeles and repatriated to Mexico.
Arellano is president of an organization called United Latino Family,(La Familia Latina Unida) which lobbies for families that could be split by deportation. She has become something of a local symbol for those who most ardently believe U.S. immigration law is patently unfair.
The group La Familia Latina Unida which also goes by the names of Centro Sin Fronteras and Pueblo Sin Fronteras is at the center of the migrant caravan invasion.
In 2008, the website looks like it was shut down, listing its address as 2716 W Division St. Chicago, Illinois, 60622. This is the same address as the Church to which she was sheltered, Adalberto UMC.
In 2012, the website is re-launched as a dedication to the work of Emma Lozano and Arellano, this time calling itself La Familia Latina Unida/Centro Sin Fronteras. Centro Sin Fronteras is an organization founded by Lozano in 1987 to keep the legacy of Lozano's brother Rudy alive.
Currently, the contact location is on 22nd place and not actually at either of the churches. Its right next door.
- Adalberto Memorial United Methodist Church
- Local church joins in immigration struggle.
- Elvira Arellano and the law
- Rally fights deportation: Keep families together
- Elvira Arellano tries to cross the border
- May Day
- May Day march calls for immigration reform
- La Familia Latina Unida - Pueblo Sin Fronteras, September 2007
- La Familia Latina Unida, October 2008
- The History of La Familia Latina Unida/Centro Sin Fronteras, February 2012
- Centro Sin Fronteras
- Immigration protester back at Chicago church that sheltered her