Press Release

Immigrants' Rights

ACLU of Massachusetts urges federal court to release Francisco Rodriguez

The ACLU of Massachusetts yesterday evening filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of Francisco Rodriguez Guardado, a father and longtime active community member in Chelsea, who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month.

Together with the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the ACLU of Massachusetts filed the amicus brief with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in support of Rodriguez, who works as a janitor at MIT and has four US-citizen children, including a newborn son. After being allowed to remain in Boston for a decade, ICE denied Rodriguez’s fifth request to renew the stay of removal. Even though he complied with a request that he report to ICE with a plane ticket in hand, he was nevertheless taken into custody.

“Immigration detention power cannot be used to merely hurt people, families and communities,” said Carol Rose, executive director of ACLU of Massachusetts. “In this particular case, ICE detained a man who was fully compliant, tore him from his family, and threw him into a jail cell without any regard for the wellbeing of his children and community, and for no legitimate immigration enforcement purpose. Now more than ever, the ACLU of Massachusetts is committed to fighting the worst excesses of the Trump administration – and that means taking on his detention and deportation machine.”

According to the amicus brief, there is no legal authority for Rodriguez’s detention. Instead, the provisions the government relies upon are inapplicable to Rodriguez’s case. The ACLU of Massachusetts also contends that his detention is not constitutional because it is not reasonably related to the purposes of preventing flight or protecting the community. Rodriguez has cooperated with ICE and complied with all of his conditions of release.

Rodriguez also has the support of the university where he works, his union, and both of Massachusetts’ US Senators and his congressman.

“We are greatly encouraged to see the ACLU of Massachusetts submit an amicus brief in support of Francisco Rodriguez,” said Roxana Rivera, Vice-President of 32BJ SEIU, Rodriguez’s union. “Francisco and other immigrants like him need all the support they can get to hold back the indiscriminate deportation machinery of the Trump administration, which is tearing apart families and communities at a record pace. We appreciate all the efforts to help a man who only wants to return to his roles as a father of four, a hard working MIT janitor and independent businessman, and a dedicated member of his Chelsea community.”

To read the brief, click here.

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