Alabama good Samaritan Rodney Smith asking for help after being denied a green card — ‘In my heart, I am an American’
Rodney Smith, a Huntsville resident born in Bermuda who has started a charity mowing the lawns of veterans and the elderly for free, is asking for help from the public after his application for a green card was denied.
Smith legally immigrated to the United States 15 years ago and is now trying to become a permanent resident based on his employment.
“My stay here is in jeopardy, I may be forced to leave the country,” he wrote about his recent rejection by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Smith announced his precarious situation via social media on Tuesday morning, saying he wanted to continue his work “as a legal citizen of the greatest country in the world.”
Yellowhammer News previously covered when Smith mowed lawns in all 50 states and when he embarked on a tour supporting law enforcement.
Smith is applying for an EB-1 work visa under the category of “extraordinary ability,” arguing his work in the community and the nation merits legal resident status.
Applicants under the category Smith is pursuing “must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim,” according to the USCIS website.
The agency apparently felt Smith did not meet this standard after reviewing his first application, per his Tuesday morning announcement.
Smith founded his charity, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, in 2015 while a student at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in social work from A&M.
“I saw a man mowing his lawn, struggling. So I got out of my car and helped him,” Smith told CBS News about his charity’s simple origins.
He began regularly cutting lawns for the elderly in between his college classes, and his passion for the issue grew into the charity Raising Men Lawn Care Service.
Smith has gotten kids involved in his charity by creating the “50-yard challenge” where young people agree to mow 50 yards for elderly or disabled people in their area.
Dozens of articles have been published in national outlets to the acclaim of Smith and his noble mission, a small selection of which are available on his charity’s website.
His charity has now mowed thousands of lawns for those in need and helped countless kids get more involved in their communities.
Especially important to Smith are those who committed their life to serving their country. He has mentioned in interviews that his favorite conversations are with World War II veterans, and he has donated lawnmowers to police departments across the nation “with the hope that police officers will offer free lawn services as a way of building positive relationships between themselves and the communities they serve.”
Smith is now making a new ask of the community that cares about him. He says a letter writing campaign will help make his case to the immigration authorities.
He is asking people mail letters in support of his application to the following address: P.O. Box 2182 Madison, AL 35758.
Smith plans to compile them and make them part of his immigration application.
Also, he is asking for an immigration lawyer, or someone who knows one, to reach out to him and provide legal advice for the process.
“I have only just begun. I have so much more I want to accomplish,” Smith remarked on Tuesday.