ICE Enforces Deportation Order; Media Goes Wild
Illegal immigrant Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez had just dropped his 12-year-old daughter off at school when, several blocks away, his car was surrounded by immigration enforcement agents and he was taken into custody.
Oh, the humanity! An innocent man going about his everyday life is snatched by evil ICE agents virtually on the doorstep of his daughter's school and ripped from the bosom of his family.
Get used to this sort of narrative because we're going to be seeing a lot of it in the near future.
By the way ... did I mention that Mr. Gonzalez had a 2014 deportation order against him issued by an immigration judge -- an order that Gonzalez was violating every single day he spent in the U.S. after it was issued? It is also a fact that the detention of Gonzalez occurred six blocks from the school.
As he pulled away from the school and got back onto the main road, the vehicles’ lights flashed. Avelica-Gonzalez, with his wife and 13-year-old daughter in the car, pulled over. Agents for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, wearing jackets that said “POLICE” on the back, detained the 48-year-old father of four.
ICE officials said the arrest was routine, citing a 2014 order for Avelica-Gonzalez’s deportation. But amid growing fears of mass deportations under President Trump, the arrest has roiled the largely immigrant community north of downtown Los Angeles.
The arrest so shook the school, a public charter called Academia Avance, that administrators held an assembly Tuesday afternoon to discuss what happened and to ease fears. The school’s executive director, Ricardo Mireles, has since ordered his teachers to talk to students whose parents are here illegally about creating a family plan in case they are detained or deported.
Since Trump took office, immigrant communities have been plagued by rumors — some true, many false. Recent targeted operations by ICE have resulted in hundreds of arrests. Such operations were common during the Obama administration but have garnered new scrutiny in recent months.
ICE has a long-standing policy directing agents to generally avoid conducting enforcement activities at so-called “sensitive locations” such as churches, hospitals and schools. But Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest has sparked new concerns that ICE is loosening that policy — an accusation that federal officials deny.
The arrest this week has garnered widespread attention in part because Avelica-Gonzalez’s daughter captured parts of it on video.
Avelica-Gonzalez’s family says he was less than two blocks away from the school. ICE officials said he was arrested in the 3200 block of Pasadena Avenue, about half a mile from the school.
The 13-year-old, Fatima Avelica, is heard sobbing in the video. The Times matched video from the encounter with Google Maps images, which appear to show that the arrest happened about six blocks from Academia Avance, in the 3200 block of Pasadena Avenue. Another school, Hillside Elementary, is less than three blocks from where the arrest occurred.