ICE Disputes Ossining Mayor's Claim About HS Student Taken Into Custody

This story has been updated.

Diego Puma Macancela
Diego Puma Macancela Photo Credit: Contributed
Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity.
Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity. Photo Credit: File
Congresswoman Nita Lowey
Congresswoman Nita Lowey Photo Credit: File

Diego Puma Macancela, a 19-year-old Ossining resident who was detained Thursday, had been ordered removed by an immigration judge on Nov. 16, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said, disputing a claim by Ossining's mayor. 

Puma Macancela, a native of Ecuador, is currently in ICE custody pending removal from the United States, ICE said. He was set to attend his prom before he was detained.

ICE contradicted Mayor Victoria Gearity's account that local police were not notified of the presence of immigration officers, who spent two days in the village. 

"Contrary to a statement issued from the Ossining Mayor’s Office, local police received prior notification that ICE would be in the local area conducting targeted enforcement actions," Rachael Yong Yow, a spokeswoman for ICE, said. 

Gearity, who lives near the home Macancela was seized from, said the statement she put out was reviewed and approved by the Ossining Police Department.

"Consistent communication between law enforcement agencies is challenging and hopefully improving," Gearity said.

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D - Westchester/Rockland), ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, said the "Ossining community has admirably risen to show support for this young man who was well-liked and admired.

“In the Lower Hudson Valley, we understand that our tightly knit, diverse communities are places where people of all backgrounds work to build a brighter future together.

"It is unconscionable that the Trump Administration would violate this fundamental trust, and I am deeply concerned this reckless action will have a chilling effect on the critical relationships between immigrant communities, law enforcement, and school officials. 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."

Lowey said she has been in touch with ICE to express her "concern for the well-being of the student and his mother, who was also arrested earlier in the week."

She said she joined with Ossining community leaders in calling on ICE "to immediately grant this young man a stay of removal. 

"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. 

"Congress must immediately work to pass a comprehensive immigration package that will reform our nation’s broken immigration laws, keep families together, and protect our economy.”

A petition to save Puma Macancela has gathered 1,258 signatures.

For Daily Voice's earlier report on Puma Macancela being detained, click here.

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