Supporters Demand Release of Man Detained By ICE

Yesterday, family, friends and supporters of a man detained by ICE agents, demanded his release on bail during a rally in Pershing Square.

Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez. 48, has been in the U.S. illegally for more than 25 years.  He is a citizen of Mexico.

Last week, he had dropped his 12-year-old daughter at school and was about to drop his 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, off at her school near Highland Park, when he was pulled over and detained by ICE agents.

Some of the encounter was caught by Fatima on her cell phone, she was sitting in the car with her mother. 

The family says ICE officials told them that he was being taken to a detention center and would be deported that night, but as of yesterday, he was still being held at the Adelanto ICE facility.

The family's attorney, Peter Greyshock, told KTLA that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a stay on his deportation.  The government is attempting to get the stay dismissed.

Greyshock says Avelica-Gonzalez is the 'sole provider' for his family.  His four daughters, aged 12, 13, 19 and 24, were all born in the U.S.  

At yesterday's rally, supporters chanted 'Shut Down ICE! Shut Down ICE!'

Jocelyn, one of Avelica's daughters told NBC 4 during the rally:

"As a community we can do big things.   We are not leaving.  We're bigger than Trump. We're bigger than ICE- all of us together."

According to a statement from ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice, Avelica-Gonzalez was arrested:

"..due to multiple prior criminal convictions, including a DUI in 2009, other vehicle code violations and an outstanding removal order."   

The ICE statement said members of a Los Angeles-based fugitive operations team,

"..conducted surveillance to confirm Avelica’s identity before arresting him near a charter school."

The L.A. Times spoke to Emi MacLean, an attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

MacLean told them:

"Avelica-Gonzalez was convicted of misdemeanor DUI and misdemeanor driving without a license in 2008. Another misdemeanor conviction, in 1998, was for receipt of stolen property when he bought a non-DMV-issued vehicle registration tag. 

In 2013, Avelica-Gonzalez filed paperwork with a “notario.”  The notario ran off with Avelica-Gonzalez’s paperwork and money, MacLean said, and he ended up with an order of deportation."

The union that represents teachers in the L.A. Unified School District has spoken about about Avelica-Gonzalez's arrest, and they are NOT happy.

In a statement issued on Friday, they said:

“Seizing parents on their way to or from dropping off their children at school will lead to students staying home, disrupting their education and negatively impacting our learning communities. Documented or not, all children have the right to a public education free from fear and intimidation.

It’s wrong to target a student’s family, whether in school, on their way to school, or coming home from school.”

An ICE official told the LA Times on the condition of anonymity that:

"Agents try to arrest people at locations that will involve the fewest bystanders.

Agents had Avelica-Gonzalez under surveillance, followed him to the school then determined where to safely stop the vehicle. Agents didn’t realize his other daughter was still in the car.  Because the arrest was not carried out on school grounds,  it does not represent a shift in policy."

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