Alabama lawn mowing man, Rodney Smith Jr., fighting to stay in the U.S.

Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 5:21 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - An Alabama resident who dedicated his life to helping Americans all over the country could face deportation.

Rodney Smith Jr., who lives in Huntsville, is known around the country for providing free lawn care service. Rodney was just denied a green card.

Smith has been in the country for almost 15 years on an education visa. He finished his master’s degree in 2018 and recently applied for a green card to be able to stay in the country but it was denied by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Smith hopes the community he has spent years serving will help fight for him to stay in the country.

“The organization was officially founded in January 2016 and ever since then I have been mowing free lawns,” said Rodney Smith Jr. But it could all be a thing of the past after his bid for a green card was denied. “Worst case scenario if I have to leave, that is the law and you have to go by the law.”

Smith is known around the country for providing free lawn care service.

A native of Bermuda, Smith moved to the U.S. when he was 16 years old to attend boarding school for children with disabilities.

Every year for almost 15 years he applied for an education visa to finish his schooling, recently graduating with a master’s degree in social work. Now, Smith wants to start his career, meaning he had to apply for a green card.

“I am looking at it as an obstacle in front of me. You can get in front of every obstacle," Smith said.

According to Smith, his green card was denied because his work mowing lawns doesn’t demonstrate extraordinary abilities or major significance of contributions in the social work field.

To date, he and the youth involved with his foundation have mowed more than 70,000 lawns at no charge for people in need across the country.

“We mow free lawns for the elderly, disabled, single parents, and veterans,” he said.

Smith is asking the public to write letters to send to Immigration Services on his behalf and the work of Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service.

“We are just trying to find a way. I believe there is a way," he added.

He hopes people who have been positively impacted by his foundation, or really anyone who is aware of his work, will show support.

“Once I get this green card, hopefully I am crossing my fingers, after that I will apply for citizenship. I believe America is where I want to spend the rest of my life and continue growing this organization," Smith said.

He said he wants to continue his mission as a citizen of the United States, but most importantly he wants to encourage more kids to contribute to their communities.

“Laws are laws and you have to abide by the laws. If I must go back, maybe take it elsewhere. Take it to the UK because Bermuda is part of the UK but I really would like to continue here in America.”

You can mail letters to P.O. Box 2182 Madison, Alabama 35758. Smith said the letters will be mailed to USCIS as he walks through the appeals process.

Congressman Mo Brooks has lent his voice to Rodney’s cause. On Tuesday, Rep. Brooks sent a letter to the Homeland Security Secretary urging the department to reconsider Smith’s visa. It reads, in part “Rodney Smith is the perfect example of a legal immigrant’s success story. He traveled to the United States in search of a better life. These are the kind of people we need in the US."

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