Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, a 19-year-old high school senior at Ossining High School in Westchester County, New York, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only hours before attending his senior prom.
Macancela had fled Ecuador in 2014 to come to the United States with his mother to escape gang violence. His mother was detained by ICE on Wednesday, at which point he fled to his cousin’s apartment. ICE, however, located him and apprehended him the following day.
ICE released a statement in which they claimed to have notified local police that they would be “conducting targeted enforcement actions” in the county. Ossining mayor Victoria Gearity, however, refuted the claim, maintaining that no such notification ever occurred.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Macancela’s counsin, Gabriela Macancela, said. “He was just doing the best he could for his future.”
Macancela’s local representative, Nita Lowey (D-NY 17th), issued a statement imploring ICE to let Macancela at least graduate high school. New York State Assemblyman Francisco Moya issued his own statement blasting ICE for having “immeasurably overstepped itself.”
My statement regarding the unjustified detention of Diego Macancela: pic.twitter.com/vImSYINAoM
— Francisco Moya (@FranciscoMoyaNY) June 10, 2017
While the Trump administration continues its xenophobic and un-American raids of innocent citizens under the guise of public safety, the only thing that these deportations have actually accomplished is tearing families apart. Trump promised to get rid of the “bad hombres;” a 19-year-old who traded in gang violence for his senior prom is hardly what comes to mind.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.