things that matter

Immigration Lawyer Says Daughter Who Recorded Dad Being Detained By ICE Saved Him

David McNew / Getty

On Feb. 28, like many other dads, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was dropping off his daughter at school. But what should have been a typical day ended up being a horrific nightmare for his entire family and it was all caught on tape.

You might remember the viral video that 14-year-old Fatima Avelica-Gonzalez took on her cellphone. She captured the moment immigration officials detained her dad.

Credit: Julia Wick / YouTube

While Avelica-Gonzalez was detained due of two prior convictions (receiving a stolen vehicle registration tag in 1998 and a 2008 DUI case) the community’s support for his release was palpable. His daughter’s cries in the video painted a clear picture of just how tragic it is when families are torn apart. Her quick thinking, which led to recording the incident, helped her dad, too.

Six months after his detainment, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez has just posted bail.

“The judge studied his case…and decided he was not a flight risk or a threat to the community and granted him a reasonable bond of $6,000,” Avelica-Gonzalez’s attorney Alan Diamante said to the Los Angeles Daily News.

However, his release is just the beginning of his case. He still faces deportation.

His attorney said the judge felt that Avelica-Gonzalez could be with his family while his case is pending.

His lawyer also said that if it wasn’t for Fatima, her father’s story would never have been known.

CREDIT: David McNew / Getty

“I have to give a lot of credit to Fatima that recorded the incident of his arrest which went viral. It was an act of resistance, and I’m hopeful that more people will do that. In a democracy, we need people to speak out when they see injustice,” Avelica-Gonzalez’s attorney said a press conference after Wednesday’s hearing.

READ: Some Court Officials In New York Are Defying ICE By Warning People Of Their Presence

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Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks SB4 In Texas, But The Fight Is Not Over

things that matter

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks SB4 In Texas, But The Fight Is Not Over

Mandel Ngan / Getty

If you ask Democratic lawmakers, the American Civil Liberties Union and Latino immigration advocates, they’d all tell you that Texas’ Senate Bill 4 is unconstitutional. SB4 would ban the “Sanctuary Cities” policy in the state, which would allow local and county authorities to racially profile Latinos. Signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May, SB4 was supposed to take effect tomorrow, but not anymore.

Yesterday, in San Antonio, Federal Judge Orlando L. Garcia temporarily blocked against SB4.

Within 24 hours of Abbott signing SB4 into law, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to bar implementation of SB4. Their lawsuit stated that the law was “patently unconstitutional on numerous grounds and the balance of harms strongly militates in favor of preserving the status quo.”

Judge Garcia ruled that the temporary ban against SB4 is granted until this case is resolved.

Judge Garcia said yesterday that SB4 can’t ban people and/or ideas just because they disagree with certain viewpoints.

“The government may disagree with certain viewpoints, but they cannot ban them just because they are inconsistent with the view that the government seeks to promote,” Judge Garcia wrote, according to The New York Times. He added, “SB 4 clearly targets and seeks to punish speakers based on their viewpoint on local immigration enforcement policy.”

The state of Texas already said it would appeal the judge’s ruling. The case is now going to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans. The New York Times states that this court is one of the most conservative in the U.S.

When the ruling hit social media, many of those advocating against SB4 celebrated the victory.

Some are calling this a minor victory because there’s still so much work that needs to be done in order for SB4 to be completely shut down.

LULAC National President Roger Rocha tells mitú people must remain vigilant .

“People must know their rights,” Rocha tells mitú. “You can be a U.S. citizen and still get pulled over.”

Rocha also said they knew an appeal would be one of the steps in the process, and something they expected. “This fight isn’t over, and we’re very confident in our lawyers.”

Rocha says that the outcome of SB4 is very important because the final ruling will have a major, nationwide effect on the discussion of immigration and racial profiling.

“I can see this going to the all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Rocha says. “Texas is ground zero, so if [SB4] passes, other states will follow and it will further divide this country.

Some on Twitter claim the judge ruled against SB4 because he’s Latino.

The New York Times also points out that Judge Garcia used to be a Democratic state lawmaker in the 1980s, and was appointed to the federal courts by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

To those critics, Rocha tells mitú the claim “doesn’t hold much water.”

“They are wrong,” Rocha says. “[Judges] need to follow the rule of law. What if it would have been a Republican judge? Judges are there to interpret the law and follow the law themselves.”

Rocha also says relief efforts in Houston paint a picture of how the community should always be with each other.

“It’s unfortunate that it takes Hurricane Harvey people coming together regardless of their nationality,” Rocha tells mitú. “It has to take a national tragedy for people to help each other. We should always be that way.”

READ: John Leguizamo Calls On Latino Celebs To Boycott Texas Because Of New Anti-Immigrant Law

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