Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Talented student artist could be deported


Talented student artist could be deported
Meynardo Garcia's artwork has won awards, but the Coconut Creek student may be deported.
Posted on Sun, May. 18, 2008


Meynardo Garcia, 18, stands with his Holocaust Documentation and Education Center award-winning artwork. Garcia is a senior at Coconut Creek High School and is in danger of being deported.


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Meynardo Garcia's ambitious dreams of becoming an artist are on hold, while he fights the U.S. government over his mother's decision years ago to break the law.
His mother slipped Meynardo, then age 10, into the United States illegally from Mexico. He's now 18 years old, a senior at Broward's Coconut Creek High School.
Meynardo's saga as an undocumented immigrant would have largely gone unnoticed but for his art teacher, his fellow classmates and his prize-winning artwork.
Nearly 1,000 classmates have signed a petition to allow Meynardo to stay in the country and his art teacher has gotten him an attorney to represent him in his legal battle.
Last month, he won first place in the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center's student art competition, beating out 500 other nationwide contestants.
He produced intricate artwork on a poster board with an airbrush, a technique Meynardo taught himself. It depicts a somber group of Latino boys surrounded by barbed wires and includes words written in Hebrew.
''When I studied about the Holocaust, it reminded me of kids in my neighborhood,'' Meynardo said. ``Those kids didn't have freedom and the kids in Mexico don't either.''
He wasn't able to claim the $250 prize because he doesn't have a social security number.
''He has an innate sense of what a composition needs,'' said his art teacher, Jacqueline Sacs. ``In 2007, he didn't know what the Holocaust was but wanted to participate in the contest. His piece awakened a passion for him about children.''
She hopes his artistic ability will somehow help persuade an immigration judge to allow him to stay.
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