4th graders lobby Berkeley council for classmate's homecoming


Rodrigo went to school in Berkeley before being deported.

"Me and my class have been talking about the immigration law and we think it isn't fair," said Aminah Diaby, Rodrigo's classmate.

Mrs. Wenger's 4th grade class at Jefferson Elementary is learning a very personal lesson on immigration law.

"We thought the government was supposed to protect us and help us go to school, but look what has happened to Rodrigo. Please help us bring him back," said Diaby.

They lobbied the Berkeley City Council to pass a resolution to send to Congress, in support of bringing home their classmate. Rodrigo and his parents' visas expired while they were visiting family in Mexico. On January 10th, U.S. Customs officers denied their re-entry and sent them back to Mexico with a five year wait to reapply for new visas.

"So what about Rodrigo's freedom? Who is fighting for his freedom? This is our time to stand up like Cesar Chavez... to fight for Rodrigo's rights," said Kyle Kuwahara, Rodrigo's classmate.

In the very first Berkeley City Council-Skype session, Rodrigo, with his parents, joined his classmates.

"Thank you everyone for what you're doing to try and get me home," said Rodrigo via Skype.

The students wrote letters to their congressional representatives and the president asking for a waiver called humanitarian parole.

"You're just 4th grade kids, but you guys are doing a big thing for us. Thank you," said Rodrigo.

The resolution passed, but the 4th graders aren't stopping now. On Wednesday they'll be on national news show, followed by a lineup of local radio talk shows throughout the week.

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