March 29, 2017 - Immigrants’ rights groups said today another Portland “dreamer” is being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Tacoma detention center, 21-year-old Emmanuel Ayala Frutos. He was picked up by ICE from his home in North Portland early Sunday morning without a warrant. The groups said that Ayala Frutos has serious health issues that they worried were being ignored by ICE officials.
Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon), said he was concerned that Ayala Frutos was not allowed to bring his medication to control his bipolar disorder or his wheelchair with him to ICE detention.
“This is an awful, inhumane case,” dos Santos said. “Emmanuel should be recovering at home with his family, not locked away without his medication in Tacoma. His family said that ICE agents would only let him bring his leg brace, but they insisted he be allowed to bring his walker.”
In February, Ayala Frutos was discharged from Legacy Emmanuel hospital following a six week stay after being struck by a car while riding his skateboard. Both his legs were were broken and he underwent surgeries.
“Emmanuel is in pain and at serious risk of injury,” said Ian Philabaum, an immigrant rights advocate at Innovation Law Lab. “ICE showed up early Sunday morning, without a warrant, and tricked a struggling young man from his home by telling him they were going to talk about this DACA status.”
Ayala Frutos has lived in Portland since the age of six and received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2013. He was in the process of renewing his DACA, which had expired two weeks earlier. Ayala Frutos went in for his biometrics appointment just three days before he was detained.
In February, Ayala Frutos entered a plea in Clark County, Washington, for possessing and showing a butterfly knife in November. The judge found that because of the circumstances of the incident and because it was his sole offense, he was not a danger to the community. He has since completed an anger management program, attended all his court dates and required meetings.
“Removing Emmanuel from his family right now is cruel,” said Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa Oregon. “Emmanuel needs to be back at his home in Portland where he can heal and recover. His family is very worried. We all are very worried.”
Ayala Frutos was hospitalized twice in 2016 for mental health illnesses. Before being hospitalized, Ayala Frutos worked for Purdy, where he ran machinery at the paint brush manufacturing facility.
Ayala Frutos arrived in the United States at the age of six from Michoacan, Mexico. He has lived in the Portland area since 2002 and attended Sitton Elementary School, George Middle School, and Roosevelt High School.
His family said they are fearful that if Ayala Frutos is deported, he will be kidnapped and ransomed. His cousin was recently murdered and one of his uncles routinely receives death threats.
The immigrants’ rights groups encouraged families to call the Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition hotline at (888) 622-1510 or the ACLU of Oregon immigration hotline at (971) 412-2258 if they encounter ICE agents.
“If ICE shows up at your door without a warrant signed by a judge, you don’t have to open it to answer questions. If ICE claims to have a warrant, you should ask agents to slip it under the door or hold it up to a window,” said dos Santos.
The groups are calling on ICE to release Ayala Frutos and have asked community members to call ICE on his behalf at (253) 779-6000 x 14.