Los Angeles, United States | AFP |
A crying schoolgirl’s videotape of her undocumented father being arrested by federal agents in the Los Angeles area this week while taking his children to school has sparked emotion and outrage.
Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, a 48-year-old Mexican who has lived in the United States for some 20 years, was arrested on Tuesday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) near his children’s school located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
His 13-year-old daughter Fatima Avelica recorded the arrest from the backseat of the car as she wept.
Authorities said Avelica-Gonzalez was arrested because of a 2009 conviction for driving under the influence and had an outstanding deportation order against him dating back to 2014.
News reports also said he was sought because of an incident 20 years ago in which he purchased a car with an incorrect registration sticker.
ICE officials said Avelica-Gonzalez was being detained pending a hearing on his case. The family, meanwhile, has hired an attorney to try and help him remain in the country.
The arrest came as federal agents are launching sweeps across the United States following President Donald Trump’s executive order aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.
The video of Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest shows him being led away from his car by two agents that had the word “police” emblazoned on their shirts and being placed in an unmarked car. His daughter can be heard sobbing in the background.
Her older sister Brenda told local media the arrest had left the family traumatized.
“It’s really hard what we’re going through,” she told ABC7. “I never thought we’d actually go through something like this.
“It’s terrible to feel and see your family being broken apart.”