South St. Paul Student Fights Deportation After Graduation

SOUTH ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A high school graduate who thought he would be forced out of the country hours after his commencement has learned he has more time.

Milton Rodriguez graduated Thursday night with the rest of the class of 2011 of South St. Paul High School. For months, he had been told he would be deported the next day.

Milton came to Minnesota six years ago after an earthquake in El Salvador. Most of his family had already settled in South St. Paul, but he was never considered a legal citizen.

Principal Butch Moening said he has been a model student in his years at the high school.

“That one in education we all love to have because he does all the right things,” Moening said.

Teacher and students wrote letters to ICE officials for weeks asking them to change their minds and let Milton stay.

Then, just 20 minutes before Thursday nights’ commencement Milton got the call he was waiting for.

“Now, I don’t know what to think. I’m so happy,” he said.

ICE hasn’t told him what the reason is behind its decision or how long it may last, but in a statement to WCCO-TV a spokesperson said “ICE is reviewing the facts to see whether his removal is necessary and no action will ne taken until a review is finished.”

Milton hopes to go to college in Minnesota and someday be a firefighter or police officer.

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