Ricardo Muniz, a 22-year-old student who was brought to the country when he was 7 years old, faced deportation and risked separation from everyone he loves and his dreams of someday building environmentally friendly structures. But thanks to more than 14,600 supporters who signed a petition started by students who are a part of California Dream Network, Ricardo’s deportation has been cancelled.
“When I learned about Ricardo's situation I was outraged because no family or student pursuing his/her dreams should go through such an awful, stressful, and emotionally deteriorating experience,” says student Justino Mora, who is a leader in the network and started the petition. “Few people believed that we could stop his deportation but what mattered most was our love for one another, determination, and belief that we could achieve justice for people in situations like his.”
He continues: “The evening Attorney [Jessica] Dominguez showed us ICE's original letter granting Ricardo a stay, I noticed an immediate sense of relief and overwhelming joy among our friends, Ricardo's mom and sister, but most importantly in Ricardo. It was a surreal moment that we had dreamed of 3 months ago, but as real as Ricardo’s tears of joy when he learned that the days of sleepless nights and overwhelming stress had come to an end. This experience and victory made us stronger and proved that when we fight together for social and economic justice we are a force not to be reckoned with.”
Ricardo Muniz is a 22-year old student, environmentalist, community activist, teen mentor, DREAM promoter, son, and brother. He is originally from Michoacan, Mexico, and was brought over by his parents to the United States when he was seven years old.
Ricardo is a student at Fullerton Jr. College and wants to go on to pursue a double major in international business and environmental economy. His dream is to create environmentally friendly homes and structures and to financially care for his mother who has worked so hard for him. Ricardo owns up to his challenges as a growing youth in a tough neighborhood in Anaheim. Today, he's an inspirational speaker at men's and women's conferences and focuses on keeping youth in school.
“I feel like an American. I want to stay here in America. I want a future here in America. I want to be the future for America,” says Ricardo about his dreams and his future.
On May 19, 2011, Ricardo received notice that he is to be deported by June 9, 2011. “I felt like someone had taken my heart out and smashed it against the floor,” he said. “I felt like my hopes were dashed.” Ricardo is determined not to be deported without a fight. "It's an injustice that I am not given a chance to prove that I am good for this nation," he says.
[UPDATE: Ricardo remains in the US but the most critical days for him are ahead. A legal effort, however, is underway and his attorney is convinced continued public support (signatures, letters, etc.) is important, now more than ever. Ricardo is anxious but marches on with hope; he’s studying, helping out in this campaign, attending volunteer activities, and helping out his family. Please keep those signatures coming because very soon we will need them to support Ricardo’s case. We will be posting updates about his struggle periodically. THANK YOU for your support.]
Ricardo is an active member in his community and a strong advocate for equal access to higher education. Just recently Ricardo performed in a play to commemorate the federal court case Mendez vs. Westminster and to ensure that the importance of Mendez vs. Westminster in American history will not be forgotten. Ricardo would qualify for the DREAM Act, a bill that enjoys broad support among Democrat and Republican voters. President Obama and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have both stated that deporting DREAM-eligible youth is not a priority.
Attorneys and community advocates are pursuing every possible avenue to assist Ricardo. Ricardo is not ready to let go of his dreams and he is fighting his deportation order but he needs your help. CHIRLA, the California DREAM Network (CDN), and United We Dream joins Ricardo in requesting you to take action to stop Ricardo’s deportation so he can continue to contribute to his community, help his family, and pursue his higher educational goals.
Would you like to help Ricardo stay in "his America"?
Please sign this petition urging DHS Janet Napolitano and ICE Director Morton not to deport Ricardo. Ricardo is an asset to our state and to our country and we should be fighting to keep immigrants like him here, not deporting them to countries they know little about.
Make sure you let Napolitano and Morton know you want Ricardo to remain in the country as they are the only ones who can step in and prevent his deportation. Call the DHS message line at 1.202.282.8495 and ICE message line at 202-732-3000 (call-in script below).
Call in Script:
“I am calling on behalf of Ricardo Munoz (A#96-139-441), an undocumented student who is facing deportation back to Mexico. Ricardo has lived in Orange County since he was 7. Ricardo has been an active community member helping young people in his community stay away from gangs and drugs, takes three to four classes a quarter seeking to get a double major in international business administration and ecological business. Ricardo participates in state-wide educational campaigns with the California DREAM Network and works every night at a Laundromat to help his mother with bills and rent. The reason I am calling is to ask that you do something to stop Ricardo from being deported.”
PLEASE FORWARD THIS PETITION AND ACTION ALERT TO AT LEAST 5 FRIENDS AND TELL THEM TO:
1. Contact the DHS Message line at (202) 282-8495
2. Sign THIS petition which will be hand-delivered to Napolitano and Morton.
3. Join the California DREAM Network Facebook page for immediate updates: http://www.facebook.com/cadreamnetwork?sk=wall and action alerts at www.cadreamnetwork.org