CINCINNATI — A federal appeals court granted a stay of deportation Friday afternoon for the caregiver of a paraplegic boy who was hospitalized Thursday night, days after immigration officials took the man into custody.
Yancarlos Mendez Perez, 27, of Springdale, Ohio, is engaged to the mother of 6-year-old Ricky Solis, who was seriously injured and paralyzed from the waist down in an auto accident in February in nearby Fairfield, Ohio. Staff at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center trained him on how to care for Ricky's complex medical needs, and Mendez has helped Ricky and his mother since 2014.
Friday’s ruling is temporary. Mendez will stay in federal custody in Ohio. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati delayed the deportation, it wrote, "in order to provide sufficient time to consider our jurisdiction, as well as the motion."
The government has until 3 p.m. Tuesday to file a response to the stay motion.
Attorney Nazly Mamedova said in an email: "We are very thankful they stayed through snow and processed the stay."
► Jan. 8: Despite social media outcry, paraplegic boy's 'Daddy' to be deported
► Jan. 5: ICE to move forward with deportation of paraplegic boy's caregiver
► Jan. 4: Paraplegic 6-year-old’s ‘Daddy’ faces deportation
Mendez could have been deported to the Dominican Republic as early as Saturday, according to documents filed with the Sixth Circuit.
Lawyers Charleston Wang and Mamedova asked the court to postpone Mendez's deportation until the court could consider his case. The filing states that the normal course for appeal, through the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, has been closed off to Mendez.
Mamedova had filed an appeal for a one-year suspension of deportation on Dec. 27 to U.S. Immigration and Enforcement officials in the Detroit regional office. His attorneys refiled the appeal to ICE in Detroit as well as to federal immigration officials in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Ricky Solis was re-admitted to Cincinnati Children's on Thursday night, Mamedova said. He is suffering from internal bleeding related to bowel, colon and bladder injuries suffered in the crash. Surgery scheduled for February has been moved up to this coming week.
"Ricky's health has worsened," Mamedova said.
She said ICE was trying to deport Mendez quickly.
The new appeal is asking for him to be released for at least a few months. Lawyers are asking that he be allowed to come home to be with his family during Ricky's surgery and recovery.
The Cincinnati Enquirer published a story about the case on Jan. 4. Since then, $1,100 in contributions were sent to the lawyer's office, along with a $25 Kroger gift card, to help Ricky's mother, Sandra Mendoza. She did not have enough money to pay rent for her Springdale apartment.
The December appeal, which stated the extreme hardship that would be inflicted on Solis and his mother, was denied Jan. 4 by officials in ICE's Detroit office.
Social media exploded in sympathy for the family. Activists called for ICE to allow Mendez to be reunited with his family.
Mamedova said Friday that a suitcase of Mendez's personal belongings was delivered to him at the Morrow County Jail, north of Columbus, and that the itinerary for his deportation to the Dominican Republic has been set.
Mendez, an auto mechanic with dual Dominican and Spanish citizenship, was stopped a second time in November in Butler County for driving without a license. He was sentenced Nov. 29 to 30 days in the Butler County Jail. Officials there informed ICE that it was holding him.
Mendoza, 24, a Guatemalan national, had to quit her job in a pizza restaurant to care for her son around the clock.
In its rejection letter, ICE wrote that Mendez overstayed a visa and, as a result, had forfeited his right to a hearing before an immigration judge.
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