A few weeks after President Trump took office, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after he dropped his daughters off at school in Los Angeles’ Highland Park neighborhood. One of his daughters, Fatima, recorded his arrest and the video went viral as a stark representation of Trump’s harsh immigration policies.
Avelica-Gonzalez’s deportation order was granted two emergency stays at the beginning of this week while an immigration appeals court reviewed his case. On Thursday, the Board of Immigration Appeals rejected Avelica-Gonzalez’s original deportation order according to The Los Angeles Times. The court’s ruling temporarily halts Avelica-Gonzalez’s deportation while it reviews his case.
Now Avelica-Gonzalez’s case will be heard again at the local immigration court that ordered his deportation originally. His lawyer, Alan Diamante, told The Times that it could take years for the judge to decide on the case because of the court’s 115,000 case backlog.
Avelica-Gonzalez, a Mexican citizen who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years, was picked up by ICE after a judge issued a deportation order stemming from two misdemeanor convictions for receiving stolen car tags and a DUI. His lawyers settled those misdemeanors in June, meaning Avelica-Gonzalez could be released from the Adelanto Detention Facility in San Bernardino, CA, following an Aug. 30 bond hearing.
In late March Avelica-Gonzalez and his wife applied for U visas, which allows victims of violent crimes and their immediate family members to apply for citizenship. Diamante told The Times he plans to ask the judge to halt Avelica-Gonzalez’s deportation while their U visa applications are considered.