A Southland man arrested by immigration authorities shortly after dropping off one of his daughters at school was honored along with his family Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council as part of Latino Heritage Month.
Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was detained by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Feb. 28 after dropping his daughter off at a Lincoln Heights school.
A video of his arrest made by another daughter was widely seen on social media and helped make his case a focal point of advocates critical of President Donald Trump’s aggressive actions on illegal immigration since taking office in January.
“His family is just an incredible example of what the contributions are that we can expect from the immigrant community,” Councilman Gil Cedillo said at a news conference at City Hall. “His daughters, every single one, is special, and every single one has a bright future. When you see them it is evident this father needs to be with his wife and his children.”
Avelica-Gonzalez was released from custody on Aug. 30 after the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed a deportation order against him. His case still needs to be reviewed by an immigration judge to consider if he should be permitted to remain in the United States, where he has lived illegally for 30 years.
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.
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.
“Thank you to all the people who helped me and supported me. Thank you for the help with this case,” Avelica-Gonzalez said.
Alan Diamante, Avelica-Gonzalez’s attorney, said that he believes the case will end with his client staying in America.
“I have been hopeful throughout, and I’m also hopeful that he’s going to stay in this country until he gets his green card and then he’s going to continue fighting until he gets his citizenship,” Diamante told City News Service. “He’s a man of great faith and I believe in him, and I believe in his case.”
–City News Service
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