Peekskill resident Manuel Armando Arpi, 40, a national and citizen of Ecuador, is being held for deportation as a result of being convicted of a felony traffic offense in 2014, according to United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Public Affairs Officer Rachael Yong Yow.
Arpi was arrested by state police on Nov. 3, 2013 and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, a Class E Felony, for violating Leandra’s Law, as his two children were in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, which took place on the Sprain Brook Parkway. ICE deportations officers arrested Arpi on Oct. 31, 2017, and he is currently in ICE custody in Orange County, pending removal from the United States.
“Arpi was convicted of a felony traffic offense Nov. 6, 2014,” Yow told The Peekskill Post last month. “Arpi was first encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol in April 1995 and was arrested for entering the United States in violation of immigration law. He was issued a notice to appear before an immigration judge, but failed to attend his immigration hearing, and an immigration judge issued him a final order of removal in absentia.”
Hudson Valley Community Cares Executive Director Luis Yumbla has been assisting the Arpi family through this process. After initially telling The Peekskill Post that Apri had a clean record during a Friday phone conversation, he confirmed that Arpi had been convicted of driving drunk with his two children in the car in 2014. Yumbla says that Arpi is not a danger to the community, and is a hard worker.
Arpi will go before a judge during a Jan. 29 hearing to ask that he be granted a conditional release while his lawyer goes about figuring a way to keep him from being deported.
“He is not a danger and he needs to go back to work and back to his family while his lawyer works on the case to prove that he is not a danger to the United States,” Yumbla said. “They need him.”
Yumbla says that Arpi’s sentence for the drunk driving offense was probation, including a fine and alcohol counseling. He completed probation about two years ago, Yumbla said.
On Dec. 8, a community vigil was held in the parking lot of Assumption Church to show solidarity and hope with the Arpi family. Described as a day of prayer, reflection and support to prevent a family from being destroyed, several prominent officials were on hand, including Councilwoman and now Deputy Mayor Kathie Talbot, Councilman-elect and current Councilman Ramon Fernandez, Councilwoman elect and current Councilwoman Vanessa Agudelo and Peekskill High School principal Rodney Arthur, who spoke at the vigil.
A portion of flyer for that event reads as follows:
“Together: We can succeed in stopping deportation and telling ICE that it is not fair to continue arresting honest immigrant workers and that they do not represent a danger to our community.”
Assumption’s Father Vincent Druding did not return calls for this article.