ADELANTO (CBSLA.com) — There were huge smiles as Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez picked up his grandson for the first time in months.
“He loves his grandpa. as soon as he saw him, he was asking: ‘can you build me an obstacle course?’ because he does everything with him,” daughter Brenda Avelica said.
Gonzalez has been kept at a detention center in Adelanto, since he was arrested in February after dropping his daughter off at school. His crying daughter took cell phone video of the arrest that went viral. His attorney says the video helped draw national attention to the case.
“Made no sense. It was an example of the aggressive tactics taken by the DHS and Trump administration,” Alan Diamante said.
On Aug. 11, the Board of Immigration Appeals tossed out the deportation order for González, who was arrested by ICE agents. He had remained in ICE custody, however, pending Wednesday’s hearing.
Gonzalez is originally from Nayarit, Mexico, and has been living in the United States since the 1990s. His four children are U.S. citizens.
His daughters say they were worried about what kind of condition he’d be in when he was released.
“He has diabetes and I know in there, he couldn’t follow with his diets that he used to follow,” Jocely Avelica said. “I know when he gets home, he’ll be back on it and hopefully he’ll be back the way he was. Strong and healthy and doing everything he can for us.”
Diamante admits Gonzalez came to this country illegally, and had past convictions for DUI and misdemeanor theft. But he says Gonzalez doesn’t pose an immediate threat, and that’s why he pushed for him to be released on bond.
“He’s been very much involved in the community, especially in the lives of his daughters,” Diamante said. “If anything, he’s a model for the community.”
No final decision has been made on whether he’ll be able to stay in this country. But his family is happy to be back together tonight.
“It feels amazing to have my dad back. there’s nothing like this feeling, I can’t even explain how I feel. I just feel really great,” Brenda Avelica said.
“It was a long battle, but we have him here, it’s all worth it,” Jocely Avelica said.
Avelica-Gonzalez has applied for a Visa. His attorney hopes the deportation process will be stopped while the Visa is being reviewed. Meanwhile his daughters say they will continue to fight for his freedom and the freedom of other undocumented families.