ICE agents arrest teenager hours before senior prom

ICE agents arrest teenager hours before senior prom
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Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested a 19-year-old at his New York home last week, just hours before he was supposed to attend his high school's senior prom, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. 

According to the report, Puma Macancela has been held in the days since his arrest at a detention facility in New Jersey. His mother, taken into custody the day before his arrest, is being held at a detention facility in New York.

A nonprofit group handling the teen's immigration case told the Post that Macancela is afraid he will be deported in the coming days.

“He is petrified,” said Carola Bracco, executive director of Neighbors Link. “He is scared to death he’s going to be sent back to Ecuador."

ICE's acting director, Thomas D. Homan, told lawmakers on Tuesday that every undocumented immigrant who committed a crime by entering the country illegally should be concerned.

“If you’re in this country illegally, and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” Homan said Tuesday in general remarks about immigration policy. “You should look over your shoulder.” 

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On Monday, Macancela's lawyers filed a request to allow the teen to remain in the country while he finished high school and becomes certified as an auto mechanic. It's up to immigration authorities now to decide whether Macancela will be granted the temporary stay. Before his detainment, he planned to walk in his high school graduation this weekend and complete his diploma requirements by August. 

According to Macancela's lawyers, he has not committed any crimes other than being in the country illegally. Macancela was brought to the United States two years ago by his mother, when he was 17.

ICE public affairs officer Rachael Yong Yow told the Post that Macancela and his mother lost their cases for asylum in November of last year. The two were arrested last week “pursuant to a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge," Yong Yow said.