New York

Westchester Teen Detained by ICE on Prom Day Set to Be Deported Friday: Relatives

What to Know

  • Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, a 19-year-old Ecuadorean national, was detained by ICE on the day of his prom earlier this month
  • He was transferred to a facility in Louisiana; his mother was also transferred, and is being held 50 miles from where he is
  • The two are scheduled to be deported back to Ecuador Friday, their relative says

The Westchester high school student detained by federal immigration police on the day of his senior prom is expected to be deported Friday, his relatives say.

Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, the 19-year-old Ecuadorean national and a senior at Ossining High School, was moved out of New York this week and into a holding facility in Alexandra, Louisiana. 

His mother, Rosa Ines Macancela-Vazquez, who was also moved to a facility 50 miles from her son, the LaSalle Detention Facility, is also expected to be deported.  

The two were held at the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen after they were arrested earlier this month. They stayed there while their lawyers filed appeals with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to delay deportation proceedings. 

Mary Vinton, director of development and communication at Neighbors Link, said Wednesday the group has been working with community leaders and with Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-Rockland/Westchester) on the case. 

Puma Macancela and his mother arrived in the U.S. in 2014, fleeing Ecuador because of gang violence, relatives told News 4. Puma Macancela was just weeks away from graduation when his mother was detained on June 7. 

Fearful after her detainment, Puma Macancela went to his cousin's apartment that night. But ICE agents came knocking at the door Thursday. 

His cousin, Gabriela Macancela, said they hid in fear as ICE agents surrounded the home because he was "really scared."

Puma Macancela eventually walked out and was detained. Macancela said she heard the agents say, "He's coming out, he's coming out," as he left the apartment. 

"They grabbed him like he's a criminal," Macancela said. "He didn't do anything wrong, he was just doing the best he could for his future." 

ICE told News 4 New York that the arrest was the result of an immigration judge's final order back in November 2016. 

Relatives said they didn't know about the order for Puma Macancela to leave the U.S. and thought there would be a chance to appeal as the teen finished his schooling. 

"He came here to start a new life, and now he's going to have to go back and start all over again," Macancela said.

Lowey had called on ICE to postpone his deportation so that he can graduate from high school. 

In a statement, Lowey said the teen was well-liked and admired, and that "young people who were brought to the United States as minors and have no criminal record should never be subject to such a cruel, deportation-first policy."

"While it is critical we work to improve our nation’s immigration system, the Trump Administration’s increasingly aggressive assault on immigrant families does not reflect the values on which this nation was founded," the statement continued. 

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