Locals March to Pray For Ohio Father Facing Deportation

| by Allison Geller

A town rallied in support of an Perry Township, Ohio man who faces deportation to his native Mexico pending an ICE decision.

Ricardo Ramos has lived in the United States without legal status for 16 years. He is married with three children, who are U.S. citizens. Ramos was given over to immigration officials when he was caught driving without a license. Initially told he would be deported Jan. 1, he was given a stay of “voluntary departure” Thursday to extend his time, which his immigration lawyer is attempting to prolong until Ramos can attain legal status. 

"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," said Cleveland-based immigration lawyer David Leopold. "He has done as much as he can do by the book."

Leopold filed the new stay-of-removal request with ICE on Wednesday, asking for them to exercise discretion in deciding Ramos’ case. He says he’s “hoping common sense can prevail.”

Ramos holds two jobs to support his family of five. His family would be heartbroken by his departure.

"I love him so much that I don't want him to go to Mexico," said 7-year-old Ricardo Ramos, Jr.

"I don't know how its going to be without my dad here," said 11-year-old Michelle Ramos, in tears. "He's very important to this family,"

Local residents have reached out to support Ramos, with Latino and Polish immigrants teaming up to organize a 20-mile “pilgrimage” Monday from the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor to the Church of St. Casimir in Cleveland. They prayed to the Polish Madonna, Our Lady of Czestochowa, at the church and carried a statue of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Mary, on the way there.

“Ricardo’s story is heartbreaking,” said Anabel Barron, co-president of HOLA Lorain, a local immigrant advocacy group, emphasizing that the walk was intended to save a family. “We are going to walk from Great Lakes Mall in Mentor to Cleveland to see if someone cares about the deportation. Legally there is no hope, they say. We’re hoping for a miracle here.”

Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer, News Net 5, WKYC, Morning Journal