Protest Held For Teen ICE Accuses Of Being In Gang As Deportation Nears

This story has been updated.

Protestors outside Ossining High School for Diego Macencela.
Protestors outside Ossining High School for Diego Macencela. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Diego Puma Macencela
Diego Puma Macencela Photo Credit: Contributed

OSSINING, N.Y. -- A protest was held Friday outside Ossining High School calling for Diego Puma Macencela, the 19-year-old detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement hours before his senior prom, to be released.

Macencela was set to graduate from Ossining High School Saturday afternoon before he was detained at his home on June 8. Macencela's mother was detained on June 7.

Macancela was denied a stay of removal this week that would've kept him in the United States for one more year to allow him to graduate high school. While no deportation date has been set, the next plane deporting people to Ecuador is June 23.

In denying the request, ICE accused Macancela of being in a gang back in Ecuador, Bracco said. ICE declined to provide their reasoning for denying his appeal, citing privacy rules. Bracco said Macancela was actually fleeing from gangs in Ecuador that tried to recruit him and sought asylum in America with his mother, Bracco said.

According to a document obtained by Daily Voice, the Ecuadorian government said Macencela had no criminal record. 

Protestors chanted Si Se Peude and Education Not Deportation as they urged ICE to review Macencela's case.

"This is a call to action," Yumbla said. "Diego has a clean record. The community is concerned. We were told only criminals would be deported. Diego is not a criminal."

Nathaly Tuquinahui is a classmate of Macencela's and said she is sad she will not be graduating with him Saturday.

"He is being treated unfairly," Tuquinahui said. "He is a nice person who is working really hard. It's really sad. He doesn't deserve to be treated like that."

Macancela and his mother had been ordered removed by an immigration judge last November. 

On Tuesday night, Macancela was reunited with his mother at the Orange County Detention Center after Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) called ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan to express her concern that the two were in separate facilities.

Macancela's detention has attracted worldwide attention. A petition has attracted more than 20,500 signatures, with signees from countries like Sweden, Germany, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Ossining School Superintendent Raymond Sanchez said they would welcome back Macancela to finish his final exams and graduate high school.

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