CLOSE

Yancarlos Mendez, a dual citizen of Spain and the Dominican Republic living illegally in the United States, was stopped for driving without a license, his second such offense. Sam Greene/The Enquirer

LINKEDIN 12 COMMENTMORE

CINCINNATI — Amid U.S. immigration officials’ efforts to send a young man thousands of miles away, he and his fiancee are trying to tie the knot.

An Ohio sheriff is blocking it.

Morrow County Sheriff John L. Hinton said he will not allow the jailhouse marriage of one of his federal prisoners, Yancarlos Mendez of Springdale, to the mother of a paraplegic boy because it needs to go through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement first.

Even then, Hinton said, the decision about whether to let the marriage take place would ultimately be his.

"We haven't allowed any in the past," Hinton told The Enquirer.

More: Despite social media outcry, paraplegic boy's 'Daddy' to be deported

More: Paraplegic 6-year-old’s ‘Daddy’ faces deportation

Mendez, a native of the Dominican Republic with dual Spanish citizenship, has a final deportation order. However, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which granted a temporary stay of deportation last week to determine if it had jurisdiction, on Thursday set a schedule for going forward with the case. The dates stretch into April.

In the meantime, Mendez will remain jailed in Morrow County, north of Columbus. 

Sandra Mendoza and Mendez have planned to get married since February, but they were consumed with the around-the-clock medical needs of her son, Ricky Solis, 6, who is paralyzed from the waist down.

Ricky remains hospitalized at Cincinnati Children's Hospital because of abdominal bleeding. He sustained serious bowel, bladder and colon injuries in a February auto crash. He needs surgery.

Attorney Nazly Mamedova said that legal precedent exists that prevents jailers or sheriffs from denying a prisoner's legal right to marry. She said she requested permission Wednesday and was told by a deputy that the sheriff does not allow inmate marriages.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1987 Missouri case — Turner v. Safley — that preventing inmates from marrying violates their constitutional rights. Mamedova said the precedent has been affirmed in other cases by the court that a fundamental right to marriage exists under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The sheriff said he is not aware of such case law.

"I'd take a look at it," Hinton said

ICE wants to deport Mendez because it says he violated terms of the Visa Waiver Program, which is how he entered the United States from Spain. He overstayed the 90-day visa, ICE said.

His attorneys said Mendez is the sole provider for Mendoza and Ricky and, with Mendoza, was trained to provide specialized medical care to Ricky in the family's Springdale apartment.

Theirs is not the only immigration case on which the 6th Circuit has ruled in the past week. On Wednesday, it ordered the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeal to reconsider evidence in the deportation case of Maribel Trujillo-Diaz. The Fairfield mother of four was deported to Mexico in April. 

LINKEDIN 12 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2EU9x4w