Rodrigo Guzman is 10. Born in Mexico, he'd lived in Berkeley, California since the age of 2, attending Jefferson Elementary, one of the best schools in the area. That was until he and his parents, en route to Mexico to renew their visas, were expelled from the country by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Stopped at Houston airport by authorities, reports the LA Times, their passports confiscated, the family were deported on the spot. Their possessions, and home, remain in Berkeley. More importantly for Rodrigo, though, was the fact he'd been instantly and perhaps permanently cut off from the friends he'd made at school, friends who had no idea what had happened or why a boy they'd known for years had been forced out of the country.
His classmates tried everything to get the US government to overturn the decision, from petitions to Facebook campaigns to rallying their local congresswoman, but it's becoming clear that even if a review or overturning of the decision can be made, it might be years down the line.
To help stay in touch, then, one of Rodrigo's friends devised a plan. Twins Kyle and Scott Kuwahara had, along with some other buddies, recently begun playing Minecraft, and they realised that even if Rodrigo was no longer physically with them, they could still hang out in the game.
So a group of students and their families rented a server and started work on "Rodrigo's World", a place where the kids from Jefferson and Rodrigo can still meet, talk and have fun.
"I want to say thank you for this, because it's helping me," Rodrigo told his friends. "But I still hope to come back and see everyone again."