Six-year-old Ricky Solis, a cute little boy who is also a paraplegic, will soon be without the only person that can take care of him. Yancarlos Mendez, a 27-year-old undocumented mechanic, is Ricky’s stepfather and has been trained to care for little Ricky, who requires 24-hour attention. But after Mendez was apprehended by authorities after driving without a license for the second time, immigration officials have decided to deport him.
U.S. Immigration will soon deport Yancarlos Mendez Perez, an Ohio man who is the sole provider & medical caregiver of a 6-year-old paraplegic boy, Ricky Solis. This is not the America that I believe in, nor is it the hopeful land that my immigrant ancestors came to. Heartless. pic.twitter.com/9aGlYQgllu
— Joe Luginbill (@JoeLuginbill) January 7, 2018
“I can’t believe this. Why is this happening?” Mendez, an Ohio-resident, told The Cincinnati Enquirer after he was informed of the decision by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In a statement to USA Today, ICE said at Mendez didn’t fit the requirements to stay in the U.S.
“[Mendez] entered the United States lawfully under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) before violating the program terms by overstaying his visit for a period exceeding two years. VWP participants waive their rights to a hearing before an immigration judge and are subject to detention prior to their removal. ICE has carefully reviewed his case and determined he was ineligible for any agency relief, and as such will move forward with his repatriation to his home country.”
— Noticias Telemundo (@TelemundoNews) January 6, 2018
It’s unclear which country Mendez will be deported to as he holds dual citizenship in both Spain and the Dominican Republic.
Ricky’s mother, 24-year-old Sandra Mendoza, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that her son’s biological father left them years ago and that Ricky calls Mendez dad. Ricky became paraplegic after a car accident in February 2017.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ricky “fractured two vertebrae and suffered spinal cord bleeding, leading to permanent paralysis from the waist down. His bowel and bladder were ruptured and his colon torn. He had multiple facial bone fractures and traumatic brain injury. He is dependent on a tracheostomy that requires acute management. As a citizen, his medical expenses are covered by Medicaid.”
— Conexión Migrante (@conectmigrante) January 6, 2018
“The day Ricky got hurt, I wanted to die,” Mendoza told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Yancarlos was so strong. He loves me. He loves Ricky like he’s his own child.”
Mendoza is also undocumented and was brought to the U.S. by her parents as a small child. Because Ricky’s father was abusive to her, she qualifies to apply for the U Visa, which “grants legal residency to victims of serious crime who cooperate with law enforcement,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
The family is currently waiting to hear about a one-year suspension of deportation with ICE that was filed by their immigration lawyer, Nazly Mamedova.