Loved ones plead for release of father before deportation hearing

- A crowd of loved ones and activists made a passionate plea on Tuesday for the release of Romula Avelica Gonzales - just steps away from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Downtown L.A.

"My dad doesn't have legal status in this country but for 24-years he lived and worked here as if he did have legal status. He contributed to this country." said Avelica's daughter, Brenda Avelica.

His daughters said those contributions ended in March when ICE officials arrested Avelica while he drove one of his four daughters to school.

Her sobbing can be heard as she captured cell phone video of him being handcuffed from the car.

On Tuesday afternoon, their emotions were still raw as they made final pleas before their dad's August 7th deportation hearing.

"I feel bullied by the immigration system, I feel betrayed by my country of birth," said Brenda.

Betrayed partly because the family believe ICE officers went against policy - prohibiting them from conducting enforcement in sensitive locations like school zones.

ICE said they could not comment on the Avelica's case because of pending matters, but said back in March: "Mr. Avelica was targeted for arrest because relevant databases indicate he has multiple prior criminal convictions, including a DUI in 2009, as well as an outstanding order of removal dating back to 2014."

They also added the arrest was made half a mile from the school.

"My dad learned. And those mistakes, were not repeated," said Avelica.

Other protestors, including Councilmember GIl Cedillo believe that the mistakes now taking place are the ones in Washington - where President Donald Trump has taken a hard stance on immigration.

"The criminals and those who should be deported are in the white house," said Cedillo.

Avelica's four daughters now just hoping politics won't keep them from their parent.

Lawyers say they are quickly working to get Avila an immigrant visa so he can stay in the country.

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