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MIT janitor facing deportation gets brief reprieve

Francisco Rodriguez, 43, faces deportation.Rose Lincoln for The Boston Globe

Franciso Rodriguez, a 43-year-old MIT custodian who is facing deportation to El Salvador, isn’t going anywhere — for now.

A federal judge’s order on Friday directed immigration officials to keep Rodriguez in Massachusetts, pending a Monday court hearing.

“This is really important,” said Matt Cameron, an East Boston immigration attorney who has represented Rodriguez for four years, of Judge Richard G. Stearns’s order. “We need him in one place so we can challenge his detention.”

Cameron said that order means Rodriguez cannot be moved to a different jurisdiction in the US, which he said was critical for Rodriguez as he fights deportation.


“We want him to remain in Massachusetts,” he said.

Additionally, the Board of Immigration Appeals, which is the Department of Justice’s highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, also granted a stay of removal for Rodriguez on Friday, according to Cameron.

That decision, said Cameron, means Rodriguez will be able to stay in the US beyond Monday’s federal court hearing, as the board mulls an appeal to Rodriguez’s deportation order.

Rodriguez, a father of two US-born children who lives in Chelsea, has worked as a custodian at MIT for the last five years. He emigrated to the US in 2006, fleeing violence and strife in his native El Salvador, where he worked as a mechanical engineer.

Rodriguez’s case has become a high profile point of contention in President Trump’s immigration policy.

Massachusetts lawmakers, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Congressman Mike Capuano, have voiced support for Rodriguez, who has no criminal record, as he faces deportation.