ICE agents arrest high school student on prom day

On Thursday morning, ICE agents arrested 19-year-old Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, a senior at Ossining High School in Westchester, New York. Puma Macancela’s arrest came on the same day as his senior prom and just one day after his mother was detained.

Puma Macancela, an Ecuadorian national, was brought to the U.S. by his mother in 2014. After his mother was arrested on Wednesday, Puma Macancela spent the night at his cousin’s house, fearing immigration agents would come back for him. ICE agents showed up the next day around 7:30 AM however. The family initially tried to hide as agents surrounded their apartment building, but eventually Puma Macancela turned himself in for fear they would take the whole family into custody.

“He was doing it for us. He didn’t want us to be taken away,” his cousin, Gabriela Macancela, told WNYC.

According to the family, Puma Macancela came to the United States due to fear of gang violence, and just wants to finish out high school.

“All the family we just want him to finish high school,” Gabriela said. “We just want that one year to finish high school and he can go back to Ecuador.”

ICE spokeswoman Rachael Young Yow told WNYC the arrests were “pursuant to a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge Nov. 16, 2016.” The family claims they didn’t know about the order and felt they should have a chance to appeal the ruling.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey is asking ICE to hold off on Puma Macancela’s deportation until after he graduates, saying in statement, “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.”

Puma Macancela and his mother are being held in separate detention centers while they await deportation.

[WNYC | Photo: Getty]

Tags: deportations, ice