Immigration appeals court throws out deportation order for man detained by ICE after dropping daughter off at school
Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, a Mexican citizen, has lived in the US for 25 years. ICE agents arrested him on February 28, minutes after he dropped off his daughter at school. Luckily, his final deportation order was thrown out by the Board of Immigration Appeals last week. According to his lawyer, the case will be kicked back to the local immigration court that initially ordered his deportation.
According to Avelica-Gonzalez’s lead attorney, Alan Diamente, he has a bond hearing on August 30. He could be released that day, while his attorneys continue to fight his immigration case.
In June, lawyers settled Avelica-Gonzalez’s decades-old misdemeanor convictions—for driving under the influence and for receiving stolen car tags—which prompted the deportation order leading to his arrest. Avelica-Gonzalez pleaded guilty to lesser vehicle code violations. In fact, certain criminal convictions can place immigrants in deportation proceedings. A California state law, which went into effect in January, allows immigrants to have their convictions lifted if they were not sufficiently advised at the time of their guilty or no-contest pleas.
After being arrested in 2008 for DUI, Avelica-Gonzalez was placed in deportation proceedings. He applied for a cancellation of removal, but an immigration judge denied it in 2013, saying he was ineligible because of his conviction for receipt of the stolen car tags.
In late March this year, Avelica-Gonzalez and his wife, Norma, submitted applications for U visas, which are available to victims of crime and their immediate family members, based on a crime that Norma was the victim of in December 2016. Diamante refused to provide details about the crime out of respect for the family and any further investigation.
The number of people with pending U visa applications has increased from 21,000 in 2009 to nearly 170,000 as of March. Congress has set a cap of granting 10,000 U visas each year. Applicants on the waiting list are granted deferrals of their deportation and allowed to apply for work permits.
Diamante said he would ask an immigration judge to temporarily stop Avelica-Gonzalez’s deportation proceedings while his U visa application remains pending. If the judge decides not to stop the deportation proceedings, Diamante said, the court will again take up his request for cancellation of removal. If the judge again denies the cancellation, the court could issue another deportation order. However, any decision could take years.
Our Verdict: this case has triggered controversy regarding the limit of the right of illegal immigrants to live in the US: Trump’s supporters believe that committing crimes, added to their illegal entrance, are enough to undermine illegal immigrants’ claims to live in the US. However, critics believe that this case is an example of Trump’s aggressive stance on illegal immigration, and one’s family should be taken into consideration when examining his/ her status.