Portland 'dreamer' released on bail after 18 days in ICE detention

(Photos courtesy of Ayala Frutos family)

A 21-year-old Portland 'dreamer' was released Thursday morning after 18 days at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.

Emmanuel Ayala Frutos, 21, was detained March 26 at his North Portland home and taken to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center.

Ayala Frutos was brought to the US illegally when he was just 6 years old. He joined the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2013 and was in the process of renewing his status with the program, which expired about a month ago.

He was at home recovering during his arrest, having been hit by a car while skateboarding.

His family and the ACLU of Oregon have expressed concern for his health during his stay at the detention center -- he wasn't given a wheelchair when he first got there but given one shortly after.

"Hygiene-wise, he says they only give him a bar of soap. Everything else they have to buy. Commissary is pretty expensive and it is just bad. For him to be in his wheelchair and for him to be in the conditions that he is in, I mean, it’s not a safe place for anyone and especially not for him," his sister Rocio Ayala said.

During the court appearance, his family found out he was arrested because he was considered a flight risk due to a November 2016 arrest. He showed a butterfly knife at a construction worker who made racist remarks toward him and was later arrested.

"Everyone makes mistakes and for him to be in this place for that reason is just ridiculous to me," his sister said.

"[It was] horrible," Ayala Frutos told KATU News. "I don’t feel like I deserve to be locked up just for something I already had paid my fines and stuff."

After getting through a hearing Thursday, a judge set his bail at $10,000. He was released Thursday under certain conditions that were set in the 2016 case -- he'll be under probation and he'll be ordered to do community service and mental health treatment.

"We proposed the conditions in lieu of a bond," Ayala Frutos' lawyer Nick Hesterberg said. "We were a little surprised that judge decided to require a bond in addition to the conditions. He is incredibly relieved to be getting out. He is suffering from severe physical and psychological trauma and working through physical and mental health issues. And he needs to be back with his family."

KATU News cameras were rolling as Ayala Frutos reunited with his family.

"This is the first time I've been outside [in 18 days]," Ayala Frutos said. "I’m just glad to go home. I didn’t expect any of this to happen ever."

And his family is thrilled to get him back home.

"As soon as the officer opened that door, I just saw his big hair... I just couldn’t help it and smiled," his sister said. "I’m just glad and happy with how everything turned out and be able to actually pick up my brother from this place. I’m just thankful for all those people that have helped us out."

The Ayala family and his lawyers believe if it weren't for public pressure and Oregon's congressional members, he would still be awaiting a hearing.

"I do think the media attention has been fantastic just to alert people not only to Emanuel’s individual case but to the cases of others like him who have gone through this rigorous process to get differed action, DACA status, be a dreamer, so we have appreciated the media’s attention to what we think is a very compelling case," Hesterberg said.

Ayala Frutos lawyers believes he will be able to continue his immigration review case in Portland.

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