The family of undocumented immigrant Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez sobbed as their father was detained and taken away by immigration agents earlier this week as he drove them to school.
Thirteen-year-old Fatima Avelica recorded US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arresting her father after the family dropped off her 12-year-old sister on their daily morning trip around Highland Park, Los Angeles.
"My dad always takes my little sisters to school," Jocelyn Avelica, Avelica-Gonzalez's 19-year-old daughter told the LAist. She said that an unmarked car had been following the family since they left the house.
"I never thought we'd actually go through something like this. It's terrible to feel and see your family being broken apart," Jocelyn also told a local ABC News outlet. She
is one of 48-year-old Avelica-Gonzalez's two fully
Avelica-Gonzalez's has lived in the US for more than 25 years and was detained over a decade-old DUI (Driving under the influence) conviction and an incident 20 years ago where he bought a car with an incorrect registration sticker, according to Ricardo Mireles, executive director of the Highland Park charter school Academia Avance.
"We want to be able to find resources to help this family go through this process," Mireles said. "I think the impacts are going to come in terms of, 'Hey, how do we pay the rent? And how do we
In the video police tell the family that they will help get their car home as Avelica-Gonzalez's wife does not drive. "We are going to take him," the authorities say. "Give us a couple of hours because we still have to process it. If you speak now you will not know what happened to him. In a couple of hours they will have it in the system and you will be able to go to see," an officer says.
Avelica-Gonzalez's arrest is just the latest after a series of immigration raids have swept the US. On 25 January President Donald Trump signed an executive order authorising immigration enforcement officials to crack down on undocumented immigrants who have faced criminal charges.
On Thursday (2 March) ICE agents in Jackson, Mississippi, told 22-year-old undocumented immigrant, Daniela Vargas that she would be deported after she spoke at an immigration press conference. Vargas was brought to the US by her parents from Argentina when she was seven years old and had been living under an expired Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) waiver.
President Trump insisted during an address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday that only gang members and drug dealers are being rounded up in his immigration crackdown. "As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens," he said, adding "bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised".
But Emi MacLean, an attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), said in an interview with the LAist: "If we allow this as a community to continue, then we create an environment where children are afraid to go to school." She added:"Parents are afraid to drop their children off at school, and people are living in a culture of fear."