While local community members celebrated on March 29 at a Rockwood Church the prior release of Francisco Dominguez from a federal detention facility, the celebration started with a much more somber tone.
Rocio Ayala distributed a press release regarding the March 26 arrest of her brother, Emmanuel Ayala Frutos.
Just like Dominguez, Ayala Frutos, 21, is an undocumented man protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and, like Dominguez, he was arrested and subsequently detained in Tacoma by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents without a warrant on the same Sunday.
According to ACLU lawyer Mat Dos Santos, Emmanuel entered a plea in February, in Clark County, Washington, “for possessing a butterfly knife in November. This is a misdemeanor. The (Clark County) judge found that because it was his sole offense and because he’s actively enrolled in a rehabilitation program, he was not a danger to the community.”
Ayala gave an emotional account of her brother.
“[We’re] really close… and having him be so far away in a place like that has been hard for my family,” she said. “He was recently diagnosed with bipolar disease, type 2…and we just want him home where we feel he’s safest.”
Recounting Emmanuel’s arrest, Ayala said “he wasn’t sure whether he would be detained. (The ICE officers) didn’t have any documents… (they said) ‘We came to get you.’ He got to the immigration offices downtown and called me.
He said, ‘Bring me my (bipolar) medication,” (so) we took him his medication (but) the people there, I’m not sure who it was, said, ‘We can’t give him this,’ ” she explained.
While Ayala has ascertained via phone that her brother has received some medication since, she said he still needed a wheelchair. He continues to recover from being struck by a car, and as of last Wednesday, still had not received one, she said.
[By Wednesday, ICE formally disputed some of Ayala’s account. ICE spokeswoman Rose Richeson said Ayala Frutos had chosen to bring only his walker, and a walking boot, at the time of his arrest, and shortly after had been allowed to contact his family in order to get his medication, which was delivered to Tacoma, according to an OregonLive.com report.]
Andrea Williams, with Latino immigrant rights group Causa, criticized the arrest, saying that “detaining a 21-year-old DREAMer who has gone to Portland public schools since kindergarten…makes nobody more safe right now.
“This is shameful, and cruel, and goes against our values as a nation. When ICE uses these types of brutal tactics, it just makes people who are part of our communities more scared to live their daily lives,” Williams said. “No young person who grew up in Oregon should ever have to worry about being separated from their family.”
Dos Santos, the ACLU attorney, said that Ayala’ Frutos’s family was “in the process of getting his DACA renewed. They had sent in the application in January which was returned for insufficient funds because (fees) had increased, but they were actively engaged in the process” at the time of Emmanuel’s arrest, he said.
It costs $495 to get DACA status renewed for two years.
“We are calling on the community to get him released so he can get home and heal,” said Williams. “The community can directly call the Tacoma Detention center. This is exactly what we did in Francisco’s case; we had the community call the detention center and ask for his release.
“We are asking the community to do that, have the calls flood the detention center with overwhelming community support,” she said.
Dos Santos noted “That is one of the factors they (ICE) consider when going through immigration (detention) proceedings.”
The phone number of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma is 253-779-6000, extension 14.