Painesville, Ohio – In the wake of an inspiring 20-mile pilgrimage that drew the support of over one-hundred Ohioans and media attention far and wide, the Detroit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office remains silent on whether they will use the discretion available to them under the law to keep Ricardo Ramos, father of three U.S. citizen children and Lake County resident of sixteen years, from being separated from his family.
With Ricardo’s removal date set for tomorrow, the same day as his daughter’s twelfth birthday, advocates are making an urgent plea with ICE to keep Ricardo with his family. Today, prominent Ohio-based immigration attorney and advocate, David Leopold, filed a new stay request with ICE.
Said Veronica Dahlberg, Executive Director of HOLA, whose organization has been working tirelessly on this case:
This is a purely heartless move by ICE, plain and simple. And based on the showing we had on Monday, ICE should be prepared to deal with the wrath of the entire community if they think they simply get away with ripping a father away from his children. This is not right, and we won’t stand for this. ICE either needs to follow their own policies and keep Ricardo with his family or face the consequences of their unjust and immoral behavior.
Ricardo was found driving without a license and was initially told he had to leave the US by January 1st. He has since received a 2-week stay of deportation that has allowed him to stay in the country until tomorrow.
Advocates both in Ohio and across the country have been quick to rally around the Ramos family. Monday’s pilgrimage drew a crowd of over one-hundred walkers from Greater Cleveland’s Latino and Polish communities, and an online email campaign has driven nearly one-thousand emails to the Detroit Field ICE Office that’s targeting Ricardo.
Ricardo works two jobs, pays taxes, and qualifies for “prosecutorial discretion” under a 2011 memo from former ICE Director John Morton, which lays out numerous factors that the agency is supposed to weigh before making the decision to deport someone. He would also qualify for legal status and eventual green card under immigration legislation passed by the Senate and supported by the Obama Administration. Thus far, the Detroit Field Office of ICE has ignored all of these equities, separating this man from his family and bringing great pain to the lives of his three U.S. citizens who desperately need him in their lives.
Added David Leopold:
It would be patently unfair, indeed cruel, to force Ricardo’s removal when an opportunity for him to earn legal immigration status may be only weeks away in Washington. All the more reason for ICE to step in now and grant Ricardo a reprieve so he can be with his family until Congress can finish its job.
See inspiring photos and stories from Monday’s pilgrimage HERE.