(WSVN) - A judge ordered that he be deported to Cuba, but Cuba won’t take him, and now he sits and waits in limbo. Will he stay or will he go? What he wants is an answer… but legally can he get it? It’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
About 125,000 Cubans came in the 1980 Mariel boatlift … an event that changed South Florida forever…
Ramon Perez was 18 years old at the time. He wasted no time getting in trouble.
Ramon Perez, stay or go: “Selling drugs, I was with the wrong people at the wrong time. What can I say? I made a mistake.”
After three years in an American prison, he got out … and made the same stupid mistake again.
Ramon Perez: “I had been looking for a job, honest, for a year and a half, and I do it again … selling drugs again. And they catch me again, and they put me for 10 years in jail.”
When Ramon got out of prison, his green card had been taken away. And a judge ordered that he be deported back to Cuba, but Castro’s crew said, “No thanks.”
Ramon Perez: “They tell me they want to deport me but my country, they don’t have nobody. They don’t take nobody.”
For the past 17 years, Ramon has worked hard in the U.S. and obeyed the laws. But technically, he is here illegally, meaning he could be sent to jail at any moment.
Ramon Perez: “I don’t want them to knock on my door and put me in the cell.”
He is a man without a country. Cuba doesn’t want him. The U.S. doesn’t want him. He has no papers, no visa and can’t go to any other country.
Ramon Perez: “I’m in limbo. I’m in limbo every single day.”
He has thought of trying to sneak into Cuba, but if that fails…
Ramon Perez: “If Cuba don’t accept me, if I come back, they put me in jail.”
Ramon is tired of waiting and worrying every day and wants a decision. Either tell him he can stay in America…
Ramon Perez: “I don’t want to go back but I want to have a normal life in this country.”
And if he can’t stay … send him to Cuba like a judge ordered years ago.
Ramon Perez: “I pay tax in this country. I would like to go back to Cuba with my money. I have a deported order. And I’m 60 years old now. I’m tired. I prefer being in my country.”
Well Howard, if Cuba refuses to accept people like Ramon, does he have to live in limbo in South Florida?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Maybe. And you may not consider it fair to Ramon or the American people because a judge has ruled he should not be allowed in this country. But a judge has no control over Cuba. And if they refuse to accept someone like Ramon, he is stuck here. And Ramon is actually lucky because he is not considered dangerous. If he were, a judge could jail him possibly forever.”
Ramon is not the only Cuban who the U.S. is trying to deport. According to a U.S. Immigration spokesperson, a stunning 36,127 Cuban nationals have deportation orders but, like Ramon, cannot be sent back to Cuba.
Cuba does occasionally accept some people but as you can see by the numbers, not many.
Who are those 36,000 people? Some are criminals, some have a deportation order because of administrative issues. As for Ramon…
Howard Finkelstein: “There are two possibilities for Ramon. Get the order to deport lifted so he can stay in the U.S. permanently but that won’t happen because he has no legal grounds to lift it. Or he could hope Cuba will accept him. But since Cuba is only accepting a few dozen from the thousands waiting to be deported, the odds of that are extremely long.”
Meaning Ramon will just have to wait and wonder what will happen to him. And if he is ever sent back to Cuba, he will only have one request…
Ramon Perez: “If they knock on my door right now, you go back to Cuba right now. I’m asking one thing. Let me take my violin with me.”
Ramon likes that violin. And while he has stayed out of trouble for 17 years, it’s a reminder … crimes he committed as a young kid can ruin your life forever. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that ’til it’s too late.
Stuck in limbo trying to solve a problem? It’s no crime to ask for help. So contact us. We don’t deport but hopefully we can banish the headache from your life. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7
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