New London family kept together by their community
New London, Connecticut and surrounding communities were devastated when discovering the pending deportation of Julian Rodriguez. The Columbian immigrant, also husband and father, came to America in 2000 seeking political asylum. Rodriguez was scheduled for deportation on Sept. 12 because of an expired visa.
Rodriguez’s community would not allow this. They fought back.
Hundreds gathered for a rally supporting the Rodriguez family at Parade Plaza in New London. Lillian Kane, a friend of Julian Rodriguez’s son, Santiago Rodriguez, created a petition with over 1,050 supporters to “Keep Julian Rodriguez With His Family.” The efforts made a difference, and Rodriguez can stay in America for another year.
“I don’t think it’s okay to ever remove someone from their home, and the life they’ve made. It’s definitely not humane to split families apart or parents from their children,” said Kane. “I think there has to be border control to a certain extent but the extremes ICE is going to and the way they are doing it is completely dehumanizing and inhumane.”
Separating families is a current and impending issue today. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 340,056 people (not all a part of separated families) were deported in 2016. Some people believe deportation of immigrants would benefit the United States by reducing crime and opening job opportunities to citizens.
For the Rodriguez family, it is important they stay together. 14-year-old Santiago Rodriguez has a rare genetic disease that is being studied by the National Institutes of Health. If Rodriguez’s were to be divided, Santiago and his mother would not have any support.
“Julian is husband to a beautiful and caring woman who I am proud to call my mother. My father cares about his family and is the only one who works a 40-hour job. Without him I would not be able to live my life,” said Santiago Rodriguez. “He’s been the one to always be there for me and help me when I had trouble in school, has helped many people over his lifetime, and he does not deserve to leave this country. He’s paid his taxes and gone to work every single day to provide for his family.”
Due to the extension, Rodriguez can stay for a full year with his family, but according to many the fight is not over.
“I’m relieved he doesn’t have to deal with it right now, but also upset that they can’t solve the problem. That just means that next year he’s going to have to go through the whole process again, which is really upsetting. To help, everyone can talk to politicians who have power, or just support the family on a more local base,” said Kane.
To show support, sign Lillian Kane’s petition or write a letter to a local politician.
“It’s important for young people to make a difference because we are the future. We are who’s next, so it’s important we figure out where we stand, become educated, and be active early on,” said Kane.