Released by ICE, ‘Dreamer’ said: ‘I was super scared’

The 21-year-old was held by ICE for 19 days

Emmanuel Ayala Frutos at a press conference after being released by ICE, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)
Emmanuel Ayala Frutos at a press conference after being released by ICE, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Emmanuel Ayala Frutos, the 21-year-old “Dreamer” who was released from ICE detention after 19 days, said he was “super scared” while he was detained at a Tacoma facility.

He, his sister, his lawyer and the leader of a Latino rights group addressed the media Friday afternoon, less than one day after he posted $10,000 bail.

(L-R) Andrea Williams, Emmanuel Ayala Frutos, Rocio Ayala Frutos, Kristina Holms, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)
(L-R) Andrea Williams, Emmanuel Ayala Frutos, Rocio Ayala Frutos, Kristina Holms, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)

Ayala Frutos had been held at the Tacoma detention center since March 26 when he was picked up in his home in North Portland. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon said ICE did not have a warrant for his arrest.

Asked what his biggest fear was while in custody, Ayala Frutos said he was afraid he’d “be there 5 or 6 weeks” or even longer.

“I was super scared,” he said, “especially with my anxiety.”

On March 19, ICE agents knocked on his door and said they wanted to ask him a few questions about his DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — renewal application. He said they told him he “wasn’t going to be deported” and that “they just had questions.”

His DACA had expired 2 weeks before and he was in the process of renewing it.

But he went with them to a spot in downtown Portland he described as “like a little jail.”

He was soon transferred to the Tacoma facility, where he remained until a judge ordered him to be released.

Andrea Williams, the executive director of CAUSA, Oregon's Latino immigrant rights organization, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)
Andrea Williams, the executive director of CAUSA, Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)

Andrea Williams, the executive director for CAUSA, Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization, said the ICE agents did not have a warrant for Ayala Frutos. She also said the ICE agents misled him.

The DACA application she said, is costly and applicants are carefully vetted. Once granted, a so-called “Dreamer” can’t be deported for 2 years.

“For many ‘Dreamers,’ the United States is the only home they’ve ever known,” Williams said.

Kristina Holms, a member of Emmanuel Ayala Frutos' legal team, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)
Kristina Holms, a member of Emmanuel Ayala Frutos’ legal team, April 14, 2017 (KOIN)

Kristina Holms, a member of Ayala Frutos’ legal team, said they would continue to represent him as the case proceeds. He is scheduled to have a deportation removal hearing in Portland on May 30.

He thanked everyone who helped get him out, and singled out his sister, Rocio Ayala Frutos, for standing by him and marshaling the support.

In February, Ayala Frutos entered a plea in Clark County for possessing and showing a butterfly knife in November. The judge said he was not a danger to the community.

He has since completed an anger management program, attended all of his court dates and required meetings. He was hospitalized twice in 2016 for mental illnesses and was injured in January after he struck by a car while riding his skateboard.

Emmanuel Ayala Frutos arrived in the U.S. at the age of 6 from Michoacan, Mexico. He has lived in the Portland area since 2002 and attended Sitton Elementary School, George Middle School, and Roosevelt High School.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.