August 30, 2017, Adelanto, California —This morning, in a courtroom at the Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County, Immigration Judge Amy T. Lee, ordered Rómulo Avelica to be released on a $6,000 bond.
ICE arrested Mr. Avelica on February 28 in East Los Angeles while he was dropping off his two youngest daughters at school. Rómulo averted immediate deportation following his arrest, but has been detained at Adelanto since then. His case has garnered national and international attention.
In granting bond, Immigration Judge Amy T. Lee, recognized that Mr. Rómulo Avelica merits “discretionary release from custody” because of his longstanding ties to the community, broad-based support from all levels of government, and critical ties to this country.
“I have gained strength from all who have stood alongside me these past months. I have courage and a new calling, having spent six months detained and alongside many who are still fighting for their freedom,” said Avelica, immediately after his release. “I will savor every minute with my family. I will fight for my right to remain with them and in this country. And I will never again be able to look away from how deportations are tearing families apart.”
Earlier this month, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) stayed Rómulo’s deportation and overturned a prior deportation order. He has a pending U visa application related to a crime his wife suffered, and the BIA ordered the Immigration Judge to reconsider his application for cancellation of removal.
“Today is a new start for Rómulo and his family, but his case is not over. He continues to ask USCIS and the court for immigration relief,” said Alan Diamante, one of Rómulo’s immigration attorneys. “We hope that the court will consider all of the evidence and allow him to stay in this country. This family has suffered enough.”
“I almost cannot believe that my father will be back home with us,” said Fátima Avelica, Mr. Avelica’s 14-year-old daughter who videotaped her father’s arrest. “This has been the most devastating six months of my life. But I have learned the power and strength of my family and community united. I will never unlearn that.”
He has lived in L.A. for nearly 30 years, has four U.S. citizen daughters and one U.S. citizen grandson. Dozens of elected officials —from LA’s City Hall to Washington DC’s Capitol Hill to the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento— and other community leaders have rallied around him and his family, calling for Rómulo’s freedom and right to remain in the United States.
“We have all learned from Rómulo and his family, and these past six months, that we must not look away. To look away as families are being torn apart normalizes the brutality of mass deportation,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), part of Rómulo’s legal team. “We must fight every case. We must demand also that our public servants do not support Trump’s deportation machine.”
Ricardo Mireles, Executive Director of Academia Avance, the school attended by two of Mr. Avelica’s daughters, said: “Rómulo Avelica is returning to where he belongs—home with his family to support his children’s goals to graduate from college and contribute to their community. And we all return even more motivated to continue the struggle for justice.”
The following events have been scheduled for the week:
Thursday August 31, 2017:
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Press Conference & Rally w/Rómulo Avelica in Support of CA Values Act
LA Hall of Justice – LA Sheriff’s Department (211 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
Friday September 1, 2017
8:00am – 9:00am
School Homecoming W/ Romulo Assembly
Avance School – 115 N Ave 53, Los Angeles CA 90042
4:00pm – 7:00pm
Community Celebration (Carne Asada/BBQ)
Academia Avance – 115 N Ave 53, Los Angeles CA 90042
Follow the National Day Laborer Organizing Network at @NDLON.