Sometimes kids are jerks. But often kids remind us that we could all take a lesson from our nine-year-old counterparts. Case in point: AlterNet reports that a classroom full of nine-year-olds has taken to the Internet to bring their friend Rodrigo Guzman back to the United States.
As the online petition states, Guzman came to the United States when he was two years old, and he and his family have made a life in Berkeley. Recently, while visiting Mexico, the family was detained in Houston, Texas. Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) officers discovered that Rodrigo’s father’s visa was expired. Even though Rodrigo’s mother believed that her and her son’s visa was still valid, the border agents sent them back to Mexico. It will be another five years before the family can return.
As a result, Rodrigo’s classmates have started a campaign that they hope will allow him to return. The school district’s board has already passed a resolution which has called for Rodrigo to be brought home. Berkeley’s City Council is in the process of deciding on just a resolution. Of course, while this is a fruitful exercise in civic engagement and the use of social media, all of those resolutions are null and void without the involvement of the federal government. Five of Rodrigo’s friends are hoping to testify in front of Congress and participate in a march in the nation’s capital.
The case highlights what happens when people with power make an unassailable distinction between people and policy. Rodrigo barely speaks Spanish; for all intents and purposes, regardless of his citizenship, the United States is his home. If his visa and his mother’s visa remained valid, even if there was nothing to be done in his father’s case, the ICE agent should have allowed them to decide whether they wanted to return to the country that they had called home for seven years.