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Family Demands ICE Release Detained DACA Recipient Recovering From 2 Broken Legs


Nearly two weeks since immigration officials arrested Emmanuel Ayala Frutos, his family and immigration activists are demanding his release from a detention facility in Tacoma, Washington.

In January, he was hit by a car and broke both his legs. While recovering Ayala Frutos was diagnosed as bi-polar.

“ICE does not have the type of physical or mental health services that Emmanuel requires to regain his health,” his attorney, Kristina Holm, said at a news conference Thursday in Portland. “He was referred to physical therapy and should be attending physical therapy sessions, one to two times a week in order to regain his ability to walk.”

In a statement about Ayala Frutos’ care, ICE said it takes the “health and welfare of all those in its custody seriously.”

Ayala Frutos was arrested March 26 in Vancouver, Washington, while he was in the process of renewing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. The program began in 2012 under the Obama administration and allows people brought into the country as young children to apply to stay here legally.

Rose Richeson, a spokeswoman for ICE, said they notified medical staff at the detention center in Tacoma about the medications Ayala Frutos was taking and his medical condition before he was transferred there.

“Upon arrival at the NWDC, Mr. Ayala received a medical evaluation by a qualified health care professional and wheelchairs are available at the center, upon request,” Richeson said.

At the news conference, Andrea Williams, the director of  Latino immigrant rights organization Causa, said ICE agents came to Ayala Frutos house and proceeded to mislead him.

“They said they wanted to ask him a few questions about his DACA application and asked him to join them,” Williams said. “They did not have a warrant for his arrest.”

Ayala Frutos first applied for DACA in 2012, which was renewed in March 2015, Williams said. She said ICE should not be arresting DACA recipients.

“Detaining DACA students is a betrayal of our values as Americans because we asked them to trust us and register with the government and they did,” Williams said. “Now, the American government is violating that trust.”

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DACA recipients can’t be “convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”

Immigration advocates say they’ve seen a shift under the Trump administration, targeting people charged with crimes. Under the Obama administration, they say, the practice was typically to wait for convictions before taking any enforcement actions.

Last year, Ayala Frutos was charged with displaying a weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon in Clark County, Washington. He pleaded guilty to both charges in February.

Court documents state a construction worker accused Ayala Frutos of waving a knife at him during a confrontation. Two people with Ayala Frutos say the construction worker had used a racial slur during the incident.

The documents say police did not find a knife on Ayala Frutos or locate one in the surrounding area. They do not make it clear whether the knife was eventually found.

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