Immigrants' Rights

Rodriguez-Guardado v. Smith

Photo by Rose Lincoln

UPDATE 12/21/2017: After more than five months in detention, Rodriguez was released on Dec. 21st, allowing him to return home to his family while awaiting a new hearing in late summer 2018.

In 2006, Francisco Rodriguez Guardado fled gang violence in El Salvador and arrived in the United States, where he was allowed to stay for over a decade. During that time, Rodriguez became a father to four US-citizen children (including a newborn son), joined the MIT janitorial staff, started a business, and became an active community member in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied Rodriguez’s latest request to renew his stay. Even though he complied with every ICE requirement—even presenting himself when a return ticket to El Salvador when asked—he was taken into custody in July 2017.

In a letter to the Boston Globe from the Suffolk County House of Corrections in July, Rodriguez wrote:

I was told that if I did what ICE said, I would not have to be in jail. I believed them. I came when they told me and did what they said, but they took me. I do not understand why I am here.

I believe in this country. I believe in what people can do here. I believe in God and have faith. I have permission to work in this country legally. I have paid my taxes to the government. My only mistake in my life was coming to this country the way I did. But it saved my life.

Together with the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the ACLU of Massachusetts filed an amicus brief in support of Rodriguez’s release. The ACLU of Massachusetts argues that Rodriguez’s detention is arbitrary and unlawful. The case also reflects a growing pattern of government overreach in detaining noncitizens who pose no danger or flight risk.

Attorneys: Matthew Segal, Adriana Lafaille (ACLU of Massachusetts), Sabin Willett, Julie V. Silva Palmer, Matthew C. McDonough, Arcangelo S. Cella, Vanessa M. Brown (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)


December 27, 2017
WBUR: How 4 Key Elements Of Immigration Policy Changed In 2017
December 22, 2017
Boston Globe: Once giving mini-sermons in a jail cell, Francisco Rodriguez will celebrate this Christmas at his church
December 22, 2017
WBUR: After 5 Months In ICE Detention, Chelsea Man Picking Up Where He Left Off
December 19, 2017
Cambridge Day: Lawyers seek release of jailed MIT janitor Rodriguez in time to celebrate Christmas
December 08, 2017
Cambridge Day: MIT janitor gets reprieve through summer in threatened deportation to El Salvador
November 27, 2017
Cambridge Day: Two courts intervene to pause deportation of MIT janitor who sought asylum in 2006
September 13, 2017 MIT janitor arrested in Trump’s immigration crackdown awaits his fate
August 18, 2017
MassLive: ACLU urges federal court to release Francisco Rodriguez, detained MIT janitor and father of four
August 08, 2017
WBUR: 'I Miss Everything': Chelsea Man Awaits Deportation Ruling From Behind Bars
August 04, 2017
Think Progress: ICE denies detained MIT immigrant janitor from witnessing birth of child
August 04, 2017
Boston Globe: Protestors seek release of MIT janitor detained by immigration authorities
July 07, 2017
New Yorker: A Deportation at M.I.T., and New Risks for the Undocumented
July 20, 2017
MassLive: Detained MIT janitor Francisco Rodriguez doesn't fit ICE profile, Gov. Charlie Baker says
July 18, 2017
Boston Globe: ‘My family needs me’: Janitor facing deportation makes an appeal from jail
July 13, 2017
Boston Globe: The taking of Francisco Rodriguez
June 22, 2017
Boston Globe: If Francisco Rodriguez is deported, we will be a smaller, meaner nation
June 22, 2017
Bay State Banner: ICE targets noncriminal working dad

Legal Documents

December 2017 - ACLU AmicusPDF