Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez has been in the U.S. for 20 years, raising four children. He was detained by ICE this week while taking his daughter to school.
On Tuesday morning, Avelica-Gonzalez’s 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, recorded Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detaining her father while dropping her off at the Academia Avance charter school in Los Angeles. ICE said Avelica-Gonzalez was detained and scheduled for deportation due to a conviction for driving under the influence almost 10 years ago, and for buying a vehicle with an incorrect registration sticker, which Avelica-Gonzalez said he didn’t know about when he purchased it.
“It’s really hard what we’re going through,” Brenda Avelica told 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.”
Roughly two dozen people joined Academia Avance executive director Ricardo Mireles to support the Avelica-Gonzalez family. Mireles told local media the community is committed to making sure the family gets all the support it needs as their father fights his deportation order.
“I think the impacts are going to come in terms of, ‘Hey, how do we pay the rent? And how do we move forward?'” Mireles said. “We want to be able to find resources to help this family go through this process.”
As of Thursday night, an attorney for the family said they were attempting to fill out paperwork for a U-visa in order to keep Avelica-Gonzalez at home with his family. President Donald Trump has promised to make the deportation of all undocumented immigrants convicted of a crime a top priority during his administration.
Watch Fatima Avelica’s video of ICE agents detaining her father below:
Kevin Wallace is a journalist with five years’ experience in print and digital media, and covers politics, media, and culture for the Resistance Report. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.