Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest by ICE officers back in February drew national criticism.
The video of his arrest—while dropping his daughters off at school, with one daughter sobbing in the background as she watched her father get taken away—went viral.
“It makes me very sad to see how [my daughter] was suffering while I was arrested,” Avelica-Gonzalez says. His biggest fear was leaving his wife and family without financial support.
Avelica-Gonzalez was taken to the Adelanto Detention Facility in California and remained there for six months. The average stay at the detention center is about 30 days. Splinter interviewed him a day after his release.
“The first thing I did when I got out of the detention center...was to run and hug my family,” says Avelica-Gonzalez, who describes the detention center conditions as “hard.” He and his fellow inmates endured verbal abuse, and three people died there during a three-month stretch in 2017.
Avelica-Gonzalez says he will continue working and “fighting this wave of discrimination against all Latinos.”
Before being released, Avelica-Gonzalez was given an ankle bracelet to track his whereabouts. He’s currently working with a lawyer to try and remain in the country legally.