Immigrant father fighting deportation is one step closer to removal

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Romulo Avelica Gonzalez, the Lincoln Heights father of four arrested by immigration agents in February near his daughter’s school, is one step closer to being deported to Mexico.

According to his attorney, Alan Diamante, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided earlier this summer that it would not hear Avelica's case. Diamante expects the court to issue the official decision Monday. At that point, he said, Avelica will lose a stay of deportation that's protected him.

"Once we lose this security blanket that we have with the Ninth Circuit, then Mr. Avelica is entirely vulnerable to being deported,” Diamante said. 

But he said Avelica has other options he is pursing, including another stay of removal filed in June.

Avelica and his wife also have a pending application for legal status. Diamante said Avelica's wife applied in March for what's known as a U-Visa, reserved for victims of crimes. He would not comment on the alleged offense but said if it is approved, her husband could obtain related legal status, Diamante said. A pending application for relief, however, is not enough to stop deportation.

Earlier this year, the Los Angles City Attorney’s office set aside two old misdemeanor convictions that landed Avelica on immigration agents’ radar but he still lacks legal status to live in the country.

Avelica has been detained since his arrest and remains in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agency officials would not comment on the case.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated where Romulo Avelica Gonzalez lived. His residence is in Lincoln Heights. KPCC regrets the error.

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