Sign up for Boston 25 News emails!

Delivered To Your Inbox

Hearing continued for Chelsea father facing deportation

Updated:

CHELSEA, Mass. - A federal judge continued the case of a Chelsea father facing deportation Monday.

"Francisco is fighting for his life. This is not just for his custody or his removal - it's for his very life," said attorney Matt Cameron. 

Francisco Rodriguez, 43, was detained last Thursday. He is a janitor at MIT, with two children and a pregnant wife.

MORE: Friends, family rally for release of MIT janitor detained by ICE

Rodriguez has been in the state for more than a decade to escape gang violence in El Salvador.

His petition for asylum was denied, but immigration officials allowed him to stay as long as he remained employed, paid taxes and checked in with them. Despite doing so, he was ordered to leave the country on his own last month or face deportation.

"The reason for his detention was nothing that he did or didn't do...the government acted in bad faith," said Cameron. 

In court on Monday, Judge Sterns ordered Rodriguez to stay in detention at least until Wednesday, until the court can determine who has jurisdiction.

U.S. attorneys said in court that the government had already issued four stays or "delays" of removal to allow Rodriguez to appeal his case before denying it the fifth time. 

His attorney said they learned through court filing included that Rodriguez was slated to be moved out of Massachusetts Monday, and then be deported Wednesday to El Salvador. They said this is unusually fast. 

Filings also showed that, "there were no such violations, everything was in compliance, they just wanted to take him," said Cameron. 

Rodriguez's union, 32BJ SEIU, the union has started a petition to ask Gov. Charlie Baker to stop Rodriguez's deportation. 

"We feel he was unfairly detained," said a union representative after court. 

 

His lawyer John Bennett said that Rodriguez is doing okay, under the circumstances.

Rodriguez will stay in detention at least until Wednesday. The immigration board of appeals is looking for the case. 

ICE has issued a statement saying Rodriguez was notified in June he would need to make arrangements to leave the count and he allegedly failed to do so.