Nearly Deported Father Honored at City Hall

September 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A Southland man arrested by immigration authorities shortly after dropping off one of his daughters at school was honored along with his family Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council as part of Latino Heritage Month.

Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was detained by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Feb. 28 after dropping his daughter off at a Lincoln Heights school.

A video of his arrest made by another daughter was widely seen on social media and helped make his case a focal point of advocates critical of President Donald Trump’s aggressive actions on illegal immigration since taking office in January.

“His family is just an incredible example of what the contributions are that we can expect from the immigrant community,” Councilman Gil Cedillo said at a news conference at City Hall. “His daughters, every single one, is special, and every single one has a bright future. When you see them it is evident this father needs to be with his wife and his children.”

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo (left) honored Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez and  his family Wednesday during a celebration  kicking off Latino Heritage Month. (Office Councilman Gil Cedillo)

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo (left) honored Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez and his family Wednesday during a celebration kicking off Latino Heritage Month. (Office Councilman Gil Cedillo)

Avelica-Gonzalez was released from custody on Aug. 30 after the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed a deportation order against him. His case still needs to be reviewed by an immigration judge to consider if he should be permitted to remain in the United States, where he has lived illegally for 30 years.

Supporters of Avelica-Gonzalez, a 49-year-old father of four, said the original deportation order arose from a pair of misdemeanor convictions against him dating back 20 years. Attorneys said those convictions were vacated in June, and he should be permitted to remain in the country.

Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest made national headlines. He had just dropped moff his 12-year-old daughter at school in Lincoln Heights, 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.

“Thank you to all the people who helped me and supported me. Thank you for the help with this case,” Avelica-Gonzalez said.

Alan Diamante, Avelica-Gonzalez’s attorney, said that he believes the case will end with his client staying in America.

“I have been hopeful throughout, and I’m also hopeful that he’s going to stay in this country until he gets his green card and then he’s going to continue fighting until he gets his citizenship,” Diamante told City News Service. “He’s a man of great faith and I believe in him, and I believe in his case.”



This Latino Heritage Month, Think Beyond Immigration

September 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The kick off this week of Latino Heritage Month, a time to pay tribute to the many positive contributions made by Latinos to the United States, has in many ways been marred by the vitriolic tone that has become center to much of the race to find the Republican 2016 presidential nominee.

Last night, during the GOP debate at the Ronald Reagan Library, candidates battled over the right way to control immigration to this country. While we agree that immigration reform is of vital importance, it is not and should not be the sole issue that defines Latinos in the U.S.

Trump and his parrots should not be allowed to minimize the centuries of contributions made by Latinos, many whose roots in this country are older than many U.S. states.

Latinos are today an integral part of American society. Their language, names, cultures and food can be found everywhere, in almost every city and state.

Latinos work in public and private institutions and government bodies. They work as educators, entrepreneurs, economists, business people, administrators, doctors, lawyers, elected officials, artists, writers, plumbers, bus and truck drivers, janitors, fast food cooks, actors and clergy — making it impossible to erase their existence and contributions to this great land.

Increasingly, families across the country are becoming more ethnically mixed, and in many cases, Latinos are part of the mix.

Here in Southern California there is a growing appreciation for their rich art and culture, with many artists trying to emulate and adopt it into their own works.

But more importantly, Latinos are an integral part of what makes this country great. Strong family values and work ethic are important to our futures.

Strong feelings of gratitude and patriotism lead many to serve in our military, to defend a country that still in too many ways doesn’t want them here except to provide cheap labor so CEOs can take home multi-million dollar pay checks.

Latinos, despite what immigrant bashers want you to believe, pay taxes and are keeping the American Dream alive, albeit with a little Latin flavor.

So, we urge everyone to spend the next month observing the positive influences Latinos are having close to home in your neighborhood and across the country.

Think of it when you hear the names of our cities, streets and our children, so many that are in Spanish.

November 2016, is not too far away and Latinos should start preparing now to make sure their voices are heard where it counts most to politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike: in the ballot box.

Then we’ll see who sends who where.

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