Hundreds are expected to gather outside the New York Citizenship and Immigrations Service Office in Manhattan at 2 p.m. Monday at a rally for Diego Macancela, the 19-year-old Ossining High School senior who was taken into custody by ICE agents Thursday at his home on Prospect Avenue.
Macancela is still being detained in New Jersey, as he awaits deportation back to Ecuador, Rachael Yong Yow, a spokeswoman for ICE said. He was set to attend his senior prom the day he was detained and just days away from graduating. Macancela and his mother, Rosa Ines Macancela Vazquez had been ordered removed by an immigration judge on Nov. 16, Yong Yow said.
Macancela and Vazquez had fled Ecuador because of gang violence, according to published reports. Vazquez was detained by ICE last Wednesday and is also currently in ICE custody pending removal, Yong Yow said. She had originally been arrested in Dec. 2014 when she attempted to enter the United States illegally through Texas, Yong Yow said.
The rally is being organized by the New York Immigrant Coalition, a coalition of 200 member organizations including the Hudson Valley Community Coalition and Neighbor's Link.
"We are trying to fight for Diego," Charlotte Gossett Navarro, the regional outreach manager for NYIC said. "This was an egregious violation of values. We're going to put ourselves on the line to really fight for him. He deserves the right to stay here and thrive in Ossining."
Gossett Navarro said she had never heard of someone being detained so close to their high school graduation. She said her organization has been in touch with his family, who has been overwhelmed since he was detained.
"This is really atrocious," Gossett Navarro said.
Macancela's detention has attracted worldwide attention. A petition has attracted almost 16,000 signatures, with signees from countries like Sweden, Germany, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
"We have to continue to fight and defend our rights and our place in the United States," Gossett Navarro said. "Here is a moment where the community is standing up together as one."
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) called Macancela's detention "reckless" and said she has been touch with ICE to express her concern.