Mario Rodriguez entered the U.S. legally in 2005 and moved to the Long Beach Peninsula, where he became a bilingual teaching aide for Ocean Beach School District. In 2017, seven years after his visa expired, he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the midst of a President Donald Trump administration crackdown on Pacific County migrants. Mario, now a PCIS Board member, applied for asylum because he is a gay man who could face physical harm if he returns to Mexico.

In early September 2021 Mario’s removal and asylum appeal was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco. That court agreed with Mario’s Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals and the panel unanimously concluded that Mario’s removal order should be canceled and is suitable for decision without oral argument. It has been remanded back to the immigration judge in Seattle for reconsideration. A final decision is expected later in 2022. Mario’s asylum status is still to be resolved.

PCIS has stood with Mario through this stressful 4+ year process. His immigration attorney Luis Cortes Romero stated in July 2021 that “Success in this case would be a big win, not just for Mario, but for everyone on the peninsula who knows Mario, or is in the same position as Mario.” Final victory is near and Mario expresses his thanks to all community members who stood with him!

While PCIS has already paid Mario’s legal costs, donations to PCIS are needed so we may continue to defend innocent men and women like Mario who belong here in Pacific County.

Photo Credit: Luke Whittaker, Chinook Observer