“I am looking at this as an obstacle in front of me. You can get in front of every obstacle.”
Rodney Smith, Jr. known to some as the "Traveling Lawn Man," faces deportation after 15 years in the United States.
In 2016, Smith founded the Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service. The organization provides free lawn care services to people with disabilities, single parents, veterans, and the elderly. To date, Smith estimates he and the youth of his organization have mowed 70,000 lawns for free nationwide.
A native of Bermuda, Smith has been in the country on an education visa. He first came to the US at age 16 to attend a boarding school for students with disabilities. Every year since his arrival, he reapplied for a visa to be able to stay and finish his educational pursuits.
He completed a master’s degree in social work in 2018 and applied for a green card to be able begin a career in the field and stay in the country, but was denied.
“Worst case scenario,” he said, “if I have to leave, that is the law and you have to go by the law.”
Smith is currently in an appeals process and is asking those who have been impacted by the work of his foundation write letters on his behalf.
Smith garnered the support of Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama who wrote a letter to the Homeland Security Secretary asking the agency to reconsider the decision. “These are the kind of people we need in the US.” Congressman Brooks wrote.
Ultimately, Smith hopes to grow the organization and if he has to leave the US, wants to continue his work wherever he goes.
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