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Monday, March 18, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

On June 8, Diego Ismael Puma Macancela was planning to attend his high school prom. Instead, the Ossining, New York high school senior was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and placed into deportation proceedings. Diego came to America with his mother in 2014, fleeing gang violence in his native Ecuador, according to a statement from the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy organization. His mother was detained June 7, according to NBC News New York, and Diego had escaped to a cousin’s apartment, fearing he might be next.

The reprieve was shortlived; ICE agents showed up to arrest him the next day.

“They grabbed him like he’s a criminal,” Diego’s cousin Gabriela Macancela told NBC. “He didn’t do anything wrong; he was just doing the best he could for his future,” she said of her cousin, who has never been convicted of a crime and was scheduled to graduate from high school in August.

In response, family, friends and immigration advocates convened a rally on Monday, outside of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in New York City, calling for his release. “Instead of wearing a tuxedo and putting [on] a boutonniere… he was wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles,” Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said at the rally.

Neither Diego nor his mother were convicted of any crimes.

“It is a senseless use of resources to needlessly police people who are in this country trying to create a better life for themselves,” Choi continued. “We will not be safer when an entire community is needlessly criminalized and therefore afraid to interact with law enforcement. This not who we are as Americans, and this is not our New York.”

Raymond Sanchez, superintendent of Ossining Public School District, was among the speakers, appealing to the importance of a high school education: “The recent actions involving Diego have created fear across our community and in some of the students we educate… What message are we sending in our society when a child is not permitted to complete his high school education?”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), who represents Ossining, requested a stay of removal for Diego and his mother, which along with an additional legal filing, is pending.

According to the New York Daily News, Diego remains in an ICE detention facility in Hudson County, New Jersey.

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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5 responses to “New York High School Student Arrested By ICE Hours Before Prom”

  1. kep says:

    Illegal means EXACTLY that. They both broke American law when they ILLEGALLY entered America. They should be deported, just as LIBERALS should be deported or jailed as TERRORISTS.

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    • You broke the law by putting your foot in your mouth once again for the umpteenth time. And maybe your grand-parents entered illegally as well—like Friedrich Drumpf, Trump’s grandfather, did.

      And one other thing, kep—Your inhumanity and bigotry will be an albatross around your neck as you prepare to enter the next world. Unless you are willing to transform yourself from some demonic figure with no conscience and not a shred of Christ-like values in your desiccated frame, there is much you’ll have to answer for.

      • kep says:

        LOL. Right because you are such a good Chrustian. Try not to choke on all those lies you willing spew.
        My family was here long before yours even knew there was anything to the west. I’ m not , nor are other Americans, going to let your kind continue to distroy our country. Time to go back home, Vlad.

  2. Arrested right before a prom. The fingerprints of Donald and Steve Bannon’s are all over that arrest.

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