A man who was detained by federal immigration authorities shortly after dropping off one of his daughters at school in Highland Park in February was granted a stay Monday that will delay his deportation.
According to the community groups fighting his deportation, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez won a stay from the Board of Immigration Appeals, which will review his case. Avelica, a father of four who is in the country illegally but has lived in Los Angeles for nearly 30 years, was facing imminent deportation because an earlier stay issued by a federal appeals court has expired last week.
Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest made national headlines. He had just dropped off his 12-year-old daughter at school, 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.
Avelica-Gonzalez, 49, remains in custody at the Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County.
“We are now asking the BIA to reconsider its prior decision and recognize that Mr. Avelica should have a right to stay in the United States,” his attorney, Alan Diamante, said. “ICE should release Romulo immediately.”
Avelica-Gonzalez’s supporters said the deportation order against him arose from a pair of misdemeanor charges against him dating back 20 years. Attorneys said they resolved those cases in June, and he should be permitted to remain in the country.
Supporters held a rally for him last week in downtown Los Angeles. Among those speaking on his behalf was City Councilman Gil Cedillo.
“As he is on the verge of being deported we stand here in unity and solidarity to make it clear to all those who are here, that we will fight for justice, that there cannot be justice until Mr. Romulo is released and returned to his family,” Cedillo said.