Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle
Rodriguez high-fives David Medina, left, which is one of the family's
lawyer and former Justice of the nine-member Texas Supreme Court,
Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Houston.
Juan Rodríguez went to the Immigration and Customs Authorities headquarters in Houston this morning for an appointment, prepared to be deported.
Instead, the undocumented Salvadoran father, was granted
an extension to stay in his Houston home with his wife and three
daughters, all American citizens, until the Board of Immigration Appeal
rules on his request for asylum.
Rodriguez became caught up in the Trump administration's crackdown on undocumented immigration in February 2017, when he went to his regular check-in ICE.
He'd done it 25 times before, the beneficiary of "prosecutorial
discretion" granted by immigration officials to many of the undocumented
who have no criminal record. But this time, Rodriguez was told he would
be deported because "the rules have changed" under Trump.
He pleaded at the time for an extension so that he could watch his eldest daughter graduate from high school.
When the Chronicle began telling his story in a series, "Out of Time,"
the city's Hispanic Bar Association came to his aid and succeeded in
winning him further reprieves.
But it was not clear what would happen Wednesday morning
when Rodriguez arrived at ICE headquarters in Northpoint with his family
at 8 a.m. He was also accompanied by his lawyers, Carolina Ortuzar-Díaz
and Jacob Monty, both partners in Monty and Ramirez LLP, a law firm
specialized in immigration law.
They presented a request for a stay so that Rodriguez's
request for asylum could be ruled upon by the appellate board. They had
reason to believe some extension would be granted.
Last week, in anticipation of Wednesday's check-in, three
lawyers from the Hispanic Bar Association met with lawyers in the
Department of Justice and received indications that the Trump
administration would not insist on Rodriguez's immediate deportation,
according to one of the three lawyers, former Texas Supreme Court
Justice David Medina.
Medina was expecting that Rodriguez would receive at least a 30-day extension on Wednesday.
Instead, he and his colleagues were surprised that ICE
granted an extension with no specific end date, lasting until the
appellate board rules, which could take six months or more.
"This is great news," said Juan Vazquez, another of the Hispanic Bar Association lawyers.
While they await the board's ruling, Rodriguez's
attorneys will pursue a parallel process in which he is claimed as a
husband for citizenship by his wife, Celia, via the U.S. Citizenship and