When Donald Trump paints a picture of criminal “illegals,” most who oppose immigrants think of violent gang members and murderous thieves.
The reality looks a lot more like Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, a father of four who has spent more than two decades in the United States undocumented and mostly law-abiding. This week, Avelica-Gonzalez was picked up by ICE officials while dropping his daughters off at school in Pasadena, California, for a decade old DUI conviction.
The conviction, paired with an incident 20 years ago when the man unknowingly purchased a vehicle with an incorrect registration sticker, was all that ICE needed to move in, detain, and ultimately move to deport the man on the president’s orders.
The 48-year-old Mexican immigrant, if deported, leaves behind four children, two of which are adults. The children would be left in the care of Avelica-Gonzalez’s wife. You can hear the man’s wife and daughters crying in a heartbreaking video of his arrest.
The family’s attorney is attempting to file paperwork for a U-visa, a non-immigrant visa reserved for victims of crimes. A temporary stay has also been granted for Avelica-Gonzalez after the National Day Laborer Organizing Network put pressure on ICE officials.
Avelica-Gonzalez is now being detained at a detention facility outside of Los Angeles and awaits his fate.
Is the solution for illegal immigration to tear apart functioning family units in the interest of winning political points? Is the crime Avelica-Gonzalez committed over a decade ago enough to justify the irreparable division between himself and his family? Many in America support the removal of violent criminals, but a DUI does not fall under that category.
Avelica-Gonzalez should be freed, and we must take a closer look at the non-violent individuals that we are seeking to throw out of our country with no regard to context or consequence.