October 23, 2013
We urgently need your support on a petition to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger on behalf of Israel Rodriguez, who graduated in 2011 from Columbia College with a degree in Women’s & Gender Studies. Israel is a member of the Dream 30, who is currently facing imminent deportation from the United States.
“Izzy,” as we know him, was an undocumented immigrant when he attended Columbia, and found that undocumented status to be an unbearable obstacle to employment and further education when he graduated. Izzy had lived in the U.S. since he was 6 years old, but he decided to move to Mexico where he thought he would have better chances. In Mexico City, he had a difficult time adjusting and desired to return to his family and friends.
To this end, he joined 29 other former undocumented residents of the U.S. who would have been eligible for legal status under the DREAM Act, in attempting to return to the U.S. through a legal port of entry in Laredo, Texas and requesting political asylum. Their legal request has been neither granted nor denied, but some of the cases have already been “fast-tracked” for deportation. Izzy is applying for asylum and is requesting to be let out on humanitarian parole.
You’ll find most of these facts in the petition we are asking you to sign, which has been created by students in Lucha and the Chicano Caucus at Columbia. We would like to make one additional point. Israel graduated and left for Mexico before June 15, 2012, when President Obama announced the 'Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (under which the administration would stop deporting young undocumented people who match certain criteria proposed under the DREAM ACT). Thus, Izzy left under one set of circumstances, but the policy changed so that, had he stayed in the US, there would now be a clear path for him to pursue legal status, including eventual citizenship.
Essentially, Izzy is being punished for trying to do the right thing. He is now being held in maximum-security detention even though he poses no threat to anyone and simply wants to return to his home. As the petition points out, President Bollinger is on record as strongly supporting the Dream Act. We need to press him now to make a strong and public statement for humanitarian parole for Izzy – and, we hope, for the rest of the Dream30. Please sign the petition and spread the word.
Here is the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/president-lee-c-bollinger-columbia-university-we-write-to-ask-for-your-support-for-israel-rodriguez-a-2011-graduate-of-columbia-college-and-a-member-of-the-dream-30-who-is-currently-facing-deportation-from-the-united-states-2#
Neferti Tadiar Rebecca Jordan-Young
Professor and Chair Tow Associate Professor
Dept. of Women’s & Gender Studies Dept. of Women’s & Gender Studies