2017 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll
Sumner Academy of Arts & Science, 2001
Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Emerson Elementary, Argentine Middle
Raymond Rico knows the importance of pursuing the American Dream. He has first-hand knowledge from his late father, who came to the United States with a trash bag of belongings, and would later teach himself mathematics and become an upholsterer.
So, it comes as no surprise that he has made it his mission to help immigrant families pursue and maintain the American Dream. On any given day, you will find him addressing the concerns of 12 to 15 families afraid of losing out on the American Dream. It’s part of his work as an immigration attorney for Garcia Immigration Law Firm, LLC.
Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program started in 2012, he has helped approximately 1,000 students complete applications to remain in this country for studies and work. It is some of these same students who are contacting him today worried they will no longer be able to pursue the American Dream. “I am from Kansas City, Kansas and I’ve met a lot of people who are starting businesses, raising families and doing well. Now, many of these same families are wondering what do I do now if I can no longer stay in America.”
This is work Mr. Rico knows well and is passionate about. Nationally, he worked in Washington D.C. at the National Immigration Law Center and with Senator Durbin in crafting the Dream Act. Because of this work, he is well-known in national circles for his advocacy for immigration reform and for undocumented students. In fact, some of his clients have been known to travel hundreds of miles to obtain his legal advice.
“I am humbled because people are entrusting me with their lives and I want to serve them well,” said Rico.
When he is not working on behalf of families in court, he is involved in organizations spearheading the same causes. He is a member of the Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance, a group of undocumented students working for immigration reform. He also serves on the University of Missouri-Kansas City Hispanic Advisory Board.
He received an award from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2014 in recognition of his outstanding community service.
He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
His advice to students: “Continue to work hard and make something out of your life.” His uncle, a former railroad worker, told him this when he was a teenager.