An undocumented immigrant father of four U.S. born children was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as he dropped his children off at school. Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, 48, had just taken his 13-year-old daughter to her school in the Highland Park neighborhood in Los Angeles when ICE agents cuffed him and put him in an unmarked car. Dramatic video of the incident was filmed by his other daughter, who can be heard crying in the bachground, along with her mother, who was also in the car at the time. He is scheduled for deportation while his family fights to keep him in the country where he has lived and built a life for 25 years, according to the New York Daily News.
"It's really hard what we're going through," Avelica-Gonzalez's daughter Brenda Avelica said in an interview with ABC 7 Los Angeles. "I never thought we'd actually go through something like this. It's terrible to feel and see your family being broken apart.” Immigrant communities have been on edge since the presidential election of Donald Trump, who made illegal immigration one of his major campaign issues. While ICE officials claim they are operating at the same levels as they did under the Obama administration, several high profile sweeps have garnered significant national attention.
Avelica-Gonzalez was initially scheduled for immediate deportation, but was granted a stay after attorneys for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network got involved. Attorney Emi MacLean told the Daily News that Avelica-Gonzalez had a DUI conviction nearly 10 years ago and a two-decade-old conviction for driving an improperly registered vehicle. During the Obama administration, ICE stings and deportations tended to only focus on undocumented immigrants with a violent criminal history. In contrast, MacLean says, "We've seen from (Trump’s) administration a real commitment to mob up immigration enforcement in a way that is totally destructive to families and communities."
[Photo: The Avelica-Gonzalez Family]