Community Response Saves Westchester Immigrant from Deportation

Community activists and Port Chester Councilman Luis Marino arrived at Manhattan’s immigration court to support the release of Marcos Peñaloza. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

Ecuadorean immigrant Marcos Peñaloza was saved from deportation and was scheduled to be released on Tuesday, an immigration judge in Manhattan has ruled.

At the hearing, held on Monday at 1:35 p.m. at the Varick Street Immigration Court, the judge imposed a bail of $10,000 and a mandatory court check-in every year.

The decision in favor of Peñaloza, who was detained by ICE agents in Westchester on May 4, is a triumph for the community and a well-deserved achievement. As soon as they heard the judge’s decision, members of the community who had attended the hearing to support the request to release Peñaloza burst in tears, realizing that the Ecuadorean father would be released and would be able to reunite with his wife and children.

According to Luis Yumbla, from Hudson Valley Community Coalition, this is a victory at the legal and community levels, as activists in the area started a campaign to prevent Peñaloza’s deportation as soon as they heard about his arrest.

“Everything is ready to post bail and mobilize in a caravan tomorrow to pick Marcos up from the detention center in Orange,” said Yumbla. “We will be there by noon and should be back here with him at around 2 p.m.”

Marcos Peñaloza, a father and worker, had been detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in Sleepy Hollow. Agents followed him in an unmarked car before arresting him.

According to Yumbla, the arguments presented by attorney Joseph Sena and the presence of the community, officials such as Port Chester Councilman Luis Marino and other community leaders were crucial to the case’s favorable resolution.

The lawyers argued that Marcos Peñaloza is not a danger to society or a criminal, offering as proof the presence of community and religious leaders and authorities who attested that Peñaloza is a family man and deserving of an opportunity to stay in the country.

The judge decided to suspend the deportation, set the bail and announced the release of the Ecuador native.

ICE followed him with his baby

[Below are excerpts from an earlier story by Westchester Hispano which offered details of the detention and the community response]


Peñaloza was detained by agents who followed him as he left his home to drop off his 8-month-old baby at the babysitter’s before going to work.

While Peñaloza noticed that he was being followed by an old car without official markings, he did not know what to do and left the babysitter’s house to prevent the agents from entering and putting his baby in danger.

Peñaloza informed his wife Erica that he was being followed, and minutes later called her back to give her the bad news that he was being detained by ICE.


“We invite the community, we come together in solidarity and we request his release. We ask that he is treated fairly and that he is allowed to return home, where his family awaits him and is suffering his absence. Our Community Defense Committee is with his family, offering hope and support. We will do everything we can to bring them back together them. Please, help us in this campaign for his release,” said via press release members of the Hudson Valley Community Coalition.


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