Deportation looms for man arrested while dropping daughter off at L.A. school

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Sitting in an immigration detention center less than two hours from his home in Lincoln Heights, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez counted up all the family events he has missed since his arrest Feb. 28.

There’s the Los Angeles Marathon, for which he helped his 14-year old daughter, Fatima, train for several months. And the joint celebration they share every year — their birthdays are one day apart. He also missed his 28th wedding anniversary and his daughter’s eighth-grade graduation.

“These five months have felt like five years,” Avelicia-Gonzalez, 49, said in an interview Friday at the Adelanto Detention Facility in San Bernardino County.

His orange detainee jumpsuit stood out in sharp contrast to the interview room’s bare, white walls. A large braided cross and two other religious necklaces hung around his neck. After an interview with The Times, his lawyer said guards confiscated the items, declaring them contraband.


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