This one garners no sympathy from me either as did the other one this week. This Guatamalan man age 27, was enrolled in a local high school. He managed that trick by using fake identification. Did anyone ever check it? Apparently not. Mr. Ramirez-Mejia most likely faces deportation when his fraud case is resolved.
Josue Oswaldo Ramirez-Mejia wanted to learn English. He wanted to read books. He wanted to learn so badly that he broke the law to get an education.
A month ago, the illegal immigrant from Guatemala forged his birth certificate, to age 17, and his school transcript to get into high school.
This week, his wallet containing his Guatemalan ID card slipped out of his pocket, and so did his secret — Ramirez-Mejia was 27.
Schools officials called him to the office, where sheriff's deputies questioned him. He was charged with forgery and could be deported.
"He just wanted to get in," his brother, Maximo Ramirez, said in a telephone interview Thursday night.
Ramirez-Mejia, who was born in Guatemala, had lived with his older brother in West Palm Beach before moving to Pasco County three months ago.
In August, he registered at J.W. Mitchell High School in an affluent and fast-growing section of Pasco County.
While his brother Maximo worked 15-hour days laying tile, Ramirez-Mejia listened to lectures on U.S. history, government and economics.
He was passing all his classes.
A sheriff's spokesman said there is no evidence to suggest he intended to do anything but get an education.
Ramirez-Mejia now sits in the Land O' Lakes Detention Center until someone can post his $5,000 bail. But that won't be anytime soon.
"I don't have any money," his brother said.
Ramirez and his brother are from an agricultural city on the west coast of Guatemala. They came to Palm Beach County four years ago to work.
In January, they incorporated a business, Torre Fuerte Inc. Three months ago, they moved to Pasco County.
A few weeks after school started, Ramirez-Mejia enrolled in the school. Ramirez said he doesn't know who helped his brother enroll in the school, but they both knew it was wrong.
On Tuesday, Ramirez-Mejia lost his wallet. A student picked it up after fourth period and turned it in to a gym teacher. The teacher opened it and saw a photograph of Ramirez-Mejia on a Guatemalan identification card. The date of birth was Jan. 3, 1978.
"I'm alone and I'm very sad because my brother is not here and I cannot speak to him,"
Ramirez said in Spanish. Ramirez, who does not speak English, said deputies did not provide an interpreter.
"They won't let me see him. They said I need $5,000."
Even if he bonds out of jail, Ramirez-Mejia may face deportation. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will process him at its Tampa office, but spokeswoman Pam McCullough it's unlikely the agency will require him to post a second bail. He will face an immigration judge but not until the forgery case against him is closed.