Free Francisco: The Fight for Justice Continues
The sky was gray and the atmosphere was gloomy as people gathered at the JFK building in Boston on July 13th. They were there to stand in support of Francisco Rodriguez Guardado, a father, hard worker, and immigrant, who was detained by ICE earlier that morning. There was still a tangible sense of disbelief that seemed to have lingered from the moment Francisco did not appear outside the ICE building in Burlington alongside his lawyer after the check in.
It came as a surprise for many people especially considering the amount of support Francisco had behind him, from SEIU 32BJ to MIT to Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren.
However “ICE doesn’t have to have a reason” said Francisco's lawyer, Matthew Cameron, when asked why they detained him, despite complying with rules and regulations as well as bringing in the plane ticket to El Salvador they had required him to.
The U.S. is deporting hard workers, people who represent the American dream and the model U.S. citizen, people who are not criminals. These words were echoed by many who spoke at the vigil held for Francisco.
One man recounted his own immigrant background. Saying immigrants are the ones responsible for clothing and feeding Americans, and how do we respond? By deporting them and tearing their families apart.
As a result of ICE’s decision, Francisco’s family will also be torn apart if he is deported. His 10 year old daughter spoke at the vigil. She began to sob as she told the people how much she loved her father; she wanted her baby brother to know who her dad is.
Through the devastation there was still a message of hope. He hasn’t been deported yet, so now we continue the fight.
There are many things we can do as his lawyer and him continue to fight on the legal fight. We must advocate for him and the many other who are also in his situation and receiving less support.
This is his daughter's speech:
Here's how you can help:
- Donate to Francisco's fundraiser here:
- Call ICE and let them know you want Francisco Rodriguez to be immediately released from detention:
New England Field Office Director: (781) 359-7526.
New England Regional ICE office: (781) 359-7500
Community Relations officer Alexia Koplewski: (781) 359-7511
- Call our Senators and Representative and ask for their support for Francisco’s Rodriguez’s immediate release from detention & approval for his Stay of Removal request and to weigh in personally with DHS:
Senator Markey: (617) 565-8519
Senator Warren: (617) 565-3170
Congressman Capuano: (617) 621-6208
- Call Governor Charlie Baker and ask for his support for Francisco Rodriguez and to call on ICE to stop Francisco’s deportation: (617) 725-4005
“Hi, my name is __ and I live in__. I’m calling to ask you to help stop Francisco’s deportation and ask for his immediate release from detention. His A-Number: 099-665-463. Today Francisco Rodriguez was detained at his ICE Checkin even after complying with ICE's requests for today's check-in, and now faces imminent deportation to El Salvador. We are demanding that Francisco Rodriguez not be deported so that he can present new facts about his asylum claim. We are also calling for Mr. Rodriguez's immediate release from detention.
Mr. Rodriguez has lived in the U.S. since 2006. He is a father of two American citizen children and with a baby on the way. He is a member of his children’s school parent committee, of the community organization Chelsea Collaborative, of the Church Tabernaculo biblico seguidores de Jesus, and a union member of 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union) at MIT. Mr. Rodriguez Guardado always pays his taxes and contributes to his community, church, children’s school and at work. He is a beloved member of Chelsea. His mother who is currently a permanent resident will become a citizen next year and shortly after she will petition for her son’s pathway to residency and eventual citizenship.”