Francisco Rodriguez runs a carpet-cleaning business during the day before heading to his night shift at MIT, as a janitor. He and his wife are raising two daughters in Chelsea. He is deeply involved in their school, his church, and his union. That makes him a pillar of our community in my eyes, and a role model for the American Dream.
Except that he’s not American; he’s a refugee from El Salvador who plays by the rules. He has no criminal record at all. He’s applied for asylum through proper channels, been denied, appealed, and been denied. Yet, every year, the government has also recognized his plight and granted him a stay of removal.
Until this year. And now Francisco faces deportation. It’s a horrible story of the terrible turn in our immigration policy, even when the laws themselves haven’t changed.
Today, I went to a rally for Francisco, at MIT’s campus. His checkin with ICE is scheduled for Thursday and the grassroots effort to keep him here – to keep him home – is growing in strength. In all likelihood, ICE will make a determination this week, so it’s a critical time. While the turnout for the rally was small, press was on hand including television.