Thursday, March 14, 2013

4th grader at Jefferson Detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A 4th grader at Jefferson Elementary School, Rodrigo Guzman, was recently detained along with his family, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and prevented from returning home to Berkeley. Rodrigo has been a student in BUSD since kindergarten.

Background on Rodrigo's situation is included in the consent calendar for next week's City Council meeting, item 30:

Rodrigo Javier Diaz Guzman has lived in Berkeley for the past seven years and is a fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary School, a school in the Berkeley Unified School District. Rodrigo’s fourth grade classmates are very upset and confused that their good friend is being prevented from coming home and living a normal life because current US policy lacks compassion and logic in its application to young families living in the United States.
Family members have stated that on January 10, 2103 Rodrigo and his family were detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and prevented from returning to their home in Berkeley, California. His family was returning from a trip to Mexico when they were detained in Houston, Texas. It was discovered that the father’s visa had expired. They have been living in the U.S. since Rodrigo was 2 years old.
ICE then told the Guzman family that they could not return to the U.S. and that they would have to immediately depart back to Mexico. Next, ICE cancelled Rodrigo’s mother, Reyna Diaz Mayida’s visa that had not expired by stamping “cancelled” on her passport and took Rodrigo Javier Diaz Guzman’s visa that was also still valid. They were being denied entrance to the U.S. and would have to wait 5 years to apply for a visa to return. They had to make immediate arrangements to board a plane and return to Mexico. They would not be allowed to return to Berkeley, California to make arrangements to move or store their possessions.
Our community, families and especially his fourth grade classmates are upset. The community is determined to help bring Rodrigo home. The "Bring Rodrigo Home – Kids for Kids" campaign is designed to get Rodrigo home by bringing together local,state and national immigration and civil rights groups to bring attention to Rodrigo's plight and put a "face" to the issue. The campaign will send Jefferson Elementary School children and parents to Washington, D.C. to testify in front of the Senate Judicial Committee or Congressional committee hearings on Immigration to discuss the importance of allowing Rodrigo and his family to return. 

School Board Directors Beatriz Leyva-Cutler and Josh Daniels and City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguin, and Max Anderson have created separate resolutions to reach out to President Obama and other state and national leaders on behalf of Rogrigo and his family, requesting a "compassionate and logical immigration policy," that will not prevent students from returning home and attending their school.  You may read the full resolution for the school board below.
There is also a Bring Rodrigro Home Facebook page that's been recently started. 

The Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission also endorsed the campaign to bring Rodrigo home.

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