What started out like any other day turned into a horrible moment for a father who has been living in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant for 25 years. Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was dropping off his 12-year-old daughter at school Tuesday morning in Pasadena, California, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers apprehended him. His attorney, Emi MacLean, told the New York Daily News that Aveliva-Gonzalez was blocks away from the school when ICE agents pulled him over, and then led him to an unmarked vehicle while his wife and daughter looked on, recording the incident on a cell phone.
Officials first told Avelica-Gonzalez’s family that he was going to be deported that same day, but then the National Day Laborer Organizing Network stepped in and pushed for a stay on the order, which was granted. He is still reportedly being held in a detention facility outside Los Angeles, but NDLON is petitioning for his release, and protesters are demonstrating outside the facility.
Avelica-Gonzalez, who has three other children besides the daughter he was driving that day, has two criminal convictions on his record from years ago, MacLean told the Daily News. He reportedly has a DUI conviction from almost 10 years ago, and a conviction for driving an improperly registered vehicle more than twenty years ago. President Donald Trump has indicated that violent criminals were going to be the top priority for immigration officials looking to deport undocumented immigrants. It is unclear what drew ICE’s attention to Avelica-Gonzalez.