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Paralyzed boy could lose his caretaker to deportation

When Sandra Mendoza learned her 6-year-old son, Ricky, had become partially paralyzed in the wake of a car crash, she...

Posted: Feb 4, 2018 4:59 PM
Updated: Feb 4, 2018 4:59 PM

When Sandra Mendoza learned her 6-year-old son, Ricky, had become partially paralyzed in the wake of a car crash, she told then-boyfriend Yancarlos Mendez-Perez he was free to go.

Caring for a child with a disability wasn't what he had signed up for when their relationship began, and she didn't want him to feel trapped.

"My world broke in a million pieces," she said Friday night. "I said, 'You don't have no reason to stay with me.'"

He did more than stay. Mendez-Perez asked Mendoza to marry him, worked while she stayed with her son in the hospital and trained for three months to become Ricky's medically certified caretaker.

According to Mendoza, making sure the boy stays safe and healthy is an all-day, every day job that requires both of them: Setting up his ventilator at night, taking him to physical therapy twice a week, helping him take baths and stay on track with medication. The whole family works together to make sure his health stays on course.

"My son really loves him," she said. "He sees him like a dad."

But neither she nor Ricky has seen Mendez-Perez since Nov. 29, 2017, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested him for overstaying a Spanish visa. He now faces deportation unless immigration lawyers can successfully argue that removing him from the country would be inhumane.

"I cried because I never thought this was going to happen to us, never," Mendoza said. She's been caring for Ricky alone while working with lawyers to make their family's case.

According to attorney Nazly Mamedova, Mendoza attempted to file a petition for a stay of deportation but was denied because she and Mendez-Perez lack a legal relationship. The couple plans to marry next week in order to cement that relationship and, they hope, keep him in the United States.

"This is not a case of chain migration or of anchor babies," attorney Charleston Wang said. "This doesn't open the floodgates to other people. This is a case of clear humanitarian necessity, a case of compassion."

Although they have a marriage license, an ICE officer will need to give permission for an officiant to perform the ceremony.

Mendoza said she planned to keep fighting even if the government denied her.

"We need him, and I love him," she said.

Ricky added: "I want my dad to come home."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294994

Reported Deaths: 6681
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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