Following the publication of a profile of 6–year–old Ricky Solis, who will require around–the–clock medical care for the rest of his life after a car crash left him paraplegic, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced they will deport the boy’s sole financial provider and one of only two trained caregivers at home.
Earlier this week, The Cincinnati Enquirer profiled Solis, along with his mother, Sandra Mendoza, 24, and Yancarlos Mendez, 27, an undocumented mechanic who for years has been involved in Solis’ life in Ohio after the boy’s biological father left following domestic abuse allegations.
After the accident, in which Mendoza also was seriously injured, the couple received training from a local children’s hospital in Cincinnati about how to provide crucial 24–hour–care to Solis.
The boy’s medical needs meant that Mendoza would have to leave her job to care for her son, and Mendez became the sole provider for the family. But he was arrested last November for driving without a license—his second offense—and sentenced to 30 days in jail in Butler County, OH, the newspaper reported.
According to the Enquirer:
Ricky cried in the courtroom Nov. 29 when guards took Mendez to the Butler County Jail for his 30-day sentence for driving without a license. Under the direction of Butler County’s anti-immigration hard-line sheriff, Richard Jones, ICE was alerted, and federal officers took possession of Mendez at the end of his county sentence. He switched from the jail’s black prisoner uniform to a yellow-and-white jumpsuit issued by ICE and moved to a jail several hours away, north of Columbus.
Mendez, who has dual citizenship in Spain and the Dominican Republic and came to the U.S. in search of a higher–paying job, remained in custody as the family’s immigration attorney applied for a temporary suspension of deportation.
On Friday, ICE replied to questions from the newspaper by stating, “ICE has carefully reviewed his [Mendez’s] case and determined he was ineligible for any agency relief, and as such will move forward with his repatriation to his home country.”
“This is so disheartening,” the family’s attorney told the Enquirer after learning of ICE’s decision.
Meanwhile, Solis, a Medicaid patient, continues to suffer from internal bleeding and will require further surgeries. His mother says she can’t pay the rent this month.