President Donald Trump is definitely not making America great…
Although Trump gave a speech to Congress on Tuesday night in which he emphasized the ongoing ICE deportation raids are ridding our country of criminals and drug dealers, there are several stories making headlines that tell another story.
Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez of Los Angeles is among several innocent undocumented immigrants who was arrested by immigration officials while dropping his children off at school, Mic reports.
Avelica-Gonzalez has been in the United States for more than two decades and fathered four U.S.-born children, yet just after he brought his 12-year-old daughter to school and was headed to take his 13-year-old, immigration authorities detained him.
The family recounts that the officers had been following him in a car on the day they detained him since he left his house that morning. His 19-year-old daughter reportedly told the LAist that her father was “really scared” to pull over. When he did, the officers immediately arrested him with his 13-year-old daughter and wife still in the car.
The young girl recorded the whole ordeal from the backseat in a poignant video that has since gone viral. Her heartbreaking sobs of pain and fear can be heard throughout the clip.
The National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) is working to get ICE to halt the 48-year-old’s deportation.
ICE officials and Trump have continuously claimed that the vast majority of arrests and deportations have been undocumented immigrants with criminal records, which is actually true in Avelica-Gonzalez’s case who has two prior convictions.
However, both incidents — which include a DUI and driving a car with a registration sticker that didn’t belong on the vehicle — are well over a decade old.
"Those are his criminal convictions in over 25 years in this country. And ICE is saying this is why he's a 'bad' immigrant and should be deported," Emi MacLean, an attorney at NDLON told the LAist. "Basically what ICE has told officials is that this man has prior convictions, as a way of essentially throwing him under the bus."
In addition to using such old, minor convictions to justify his arrest, the immigration officials wore jackets that identified them as police. Although the practice isn’t illegal, it is misleading and frowned upon by L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti.
“We have worked for decades in L.A. to build stronger trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Misleading practices like these undermine the good faith and spirit of cooperation that is so integral to our city's safety and security,” Garcetti reportedly said in a statement.
The community has rallied behind Avelica-Gonzalez. According to Mic, the day of his deportation the charter school that two of his children attend held an assembly in solidarity with the family.
“Everybody on Nov. 9 was afraid," said executive director of the charter school Ricardo Mireles. “But it was fear of what was not known. Today was the first time it was directly one of our families, so it just made real the fears that were already there.”
Avelica-Gonzalez was granted a temporary stay following his arrest, but he is still in detention. The NDLON continues working diligently on his behalf.
Meanwhile, his family must carry on day to day in fear of his fate.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Norsk Telegrambyra