Wife, clergy plea for ICE to release ailing Southern California youth pastor

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Southern California wife and a coalition of clergy are using prayer and a #WeCare social media campaign seeking release for Allan Altamirano who is in ICE detention.

To supporters, Allan Altamirano is a loving father of four and a Corona youth pastor who has lived in the U.S. since he was a child.

To Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the 34-year old dad is "an unlawfully present Mexican national and repeat immigration violator."

His wife Jael says that Altamirano developed a medical condition while in custody. She worries that he could be exposed to COVID-19 at the Adelanto Processing Center where he has been held for the last 8 months.

"I don't want my husband to be returned home to me in a casket," says Jael.

ICE reports that at Adelanto there are currently eight infected detainees. Two others have either recovered or left the facility.

To minimize exposure, ICE says it has removed nearly 45% of its population since January. About 930 detainees remain.

ICE also reports that because of a court order, the agency was compelled to release 56 detainees from Los Angeles area detention. Of those released, 47 had criminal records which included child cruelty and attempted murder.

Altamirano had no criminal history, according to his wife.

"He has always lived the life of a model citizen. During his time in detention he suffered a medical emergency, which resulted in his week-long stay in a hospital due to a delicate heart condition," says Jael.

His wife's posts chronicle her husband's work as a youth pastor, ministering on the streets of Hollywood and attending evangelical events.

"Pastor Altamirano is not a flight risk. He is not a danger to public security," says Presbyterian pastor Alexia Salvatierra who was among a dozen clergy who rallied Friday in front of the downtown Los Angeles federal building.

ICE says that discretionary release of detainees happens every day on a case-by-case basis.

Jael and church supporters hope officials hear their prayers.

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