BOSTON (CBS) — An Alabama man who has gained notoriety for mowing lawns for those in need all over America, including in the Boston area, says he may be forced to leave the country. Rodney Smith Jr., whose nonprofit Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service provides free lawn care to veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities and single mothers, said this week that he’s been denied a green card that would allow him to remain in the United States.
Smith was born in Bermuda but has been in the United States for the past 15 years. He and his foundation have mowed more than 2,500 lawns. But it may not be enough to keep him in the country, according to the letter he said he received from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“The denial letter stated that I have ‘not provided documentary evidence that my work is an original contribution of major significance to the field’ (my field being social work),” Smith posted to social media. “It also stated that the USCIS “does not find the beneficiary to be an individual of extraordinary ability.”
Smith came to Waltham in 2018. And earlier this month, the New England Patriots thanked him for mowing the lawn of a 97-year-old World War II veteran in Foxboro.
“We’re trying to encourage kids, no matter if you’re a boy or girl, young or old, you too can make a difference with a lawnmower,” he told WBZ-TV.
Smith is appealing the decision and asks supporters to send him letters that he can compile for the USCIS at P.O. Box 2182 Madison, Alabama 35758. He is looking for an immigration attorney and is also getting help from Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, who sent a letter to USCIS saying Smith is ‘the perfect example of a legal immigrant’s success story.”
“I have so much more I want to accomplish,” Smith said. “I want to continue this work as a legal citizen of the greatest country in the world, and I want to continue to encourage kids.”
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