A man who was detained by immigration authorities shortly after dropping off one of his daughters at a Lincoln Heights school remained in federal custody Friday, but he had new hope of remaining in the United States thanks to the dismissal of a deportation order against him.
The Thursday decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals was a victory for Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, but not the end of his fight to avoid deportation. In vacating the deportation order, the board sent the case back to an immigration judge to consider if he should be permitted to remain in the United States, where he has lived illegally for nearly three decades.
It was unclear how long that process will take. Avelica-Gonzalez’s attorney, Alan Diamante, said he will ask during an Aug. 30 bond hearing that his client be released from the Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County, where he has been held since being arrested in February.
Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest made national headlines. He had just dropped off his 12-year-old daughter at school in Lincoln Heights, and a short time later, his 14-year-old daughter — who was in his car — cried as she filmed her father being taken into custody by immigration authorities in Highland Park.
Immigration activists decried the arrest as a symbol of what they consider an overly aggressive crackdown on immigrants living in the country illegally during the administration of President Donald Trump.
Supporters of Avelica-Gonzalez, a 49-year-old father of four, said the original deportation order arose from a pair of misdemeanor convictions against him dating back 20 years. Attorneys said those convictions were vacated in June, and he should be permitted to remain in the country.
Supporters held a rally for him last week in downtown Los Angeles. Among those speaking on his behalf was City Councilman Gil Cedillo.
“As he is on the verge of being deported, we stand here in unity and solidarity to make it clear to all those who are here, that we will fight for justice, that there cannot be justice until Mr. Romulo is released and returned to his family,” Cedillo said.
–City News Service