Things That Matter

He Was Taking His Children To School When ICE Stopped And Arrested Him Half A Mile From His Daughter’s School

For more than two decades, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez — an immigrant from Mexico — has called the U.S. his home. On Tuesday, February 28th, the 48-year-old father of four had just dropped off his 12-year-old daughter at a Los Angeles area school when he was directed to pull over by two vehicles that had apparently been tailing him.

After getting out of the car, Avelica-Gonzalez’s wife watched on from the front seat as ICE officials arrested her husband. From the backseat, his 13-year-old daughter, Fatima Avelica, captured the ordeal on camera, sobbing as her father was driven away.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the arrest took place barely a half mile from his younger daughter’s school.

Avelica-Gonzalez, who is originally from Nayarit, Mexico, LAist reports, has lived in the U.S. for the past 25 years.

DEMOCRACY NOW! / YOUTUBE

In an interview with Democracy Now!, Emi Maclean, the immigration attorney working with the detained’s family, said that Avelica-Gonzalez’s deportation stems from two prior convictions. One was from a 2008 DUI case, and the other occurred in 1998 when Avelica-Gonzalez received a stolen vehicle registration tag, which he couldn’t obtain otherwise because he couldn’t legally acquire a driver’s license at that time.

ICE acted on a 2014 order for Avelica-Gonzalez’s deportation.

Avelica-Gonzalez’s immediate deportation was delayed thanks to the efforts of the community.

STOP Romulo’s Deportation / Facebook

Maclean told Democracy Now! that ICE officials had planned to put Avelica-Gonzalez on a bus to Tijuana the same day he was detained. With the help of the community and his attorney, “an emergency stay of removal” was filed on behalf of Avelica-Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Times reports. Advocates have been fighting to keep Avelica-Gonzalez in the country and a rally has been scheduled for March 6th.

As Maclean told Democracy Now!, the community’s involvement is very important to keeping the father of four in the country, saying:

[P]art of why it has been so important to have the community rally around Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez’s case is to demonstrate that no one is disposable. That we need to contest every single case.

Since the arrest, Avelica-Gonzalez has been detained in a facility in Adelanto, California.

Julia Wick / YouTube

Avelica-Gonzalez’s family has not yet been able to visit him in the facility in which he is being held thanks to a quarantine. For now, the family awaits to find out what will happen to their father and husband, who, according to the Los Angeles Times, is the sole income provider in the family.

[h/t] Immigrant arrested by ICE after dropping daughter off at school, sending shockwaves through neighborhood

READ: She Spoke At A Press Conference About Her Family Being Detained And Was Picked Up By ICE

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Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

Things That Matter

Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

For years now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been enforcing cruel and, in many opinions, illegal immigration policies that have affected the most vulnerable among us. And they’ve been doing it without a permanent leader who can be held accountable.

The Trump administration relied on interim leaders and deputy secretaries to head the sprawling and powerful agency. Now, President Biden has nominated a frequent outspoken Trump critic to lead the agency and many are hopeful there could be real change.

The White House has nominated Texas sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead ICE.

President Joe Biden has nominated a Texas sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, to lead ICE. Gonzalez has been the sheriff of Harris County (parts of Houston, TX) since 2017, leading the state’s largest sheriffs department. He has led a team of 5,000 employees in the position and previously served 18 years with the Houston Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant, according to his profile on his office’s website.

Gonzalez has also been a vocal critic of elements of former President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement policies.

Gonzalez is the second such critic to be selected by Biden for a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security, following the nomination two weeks ago of Tucson, AZ., Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Gonzalez has long been a voice of reason within law enforcement leading many to be hopeful for change.

During his first term as sheriff Gonzalez ended a program with ICE that trained 10 Harris County deputies to determine the immigration status of prisoners, and hold for deportation those in the country illegally.

As sheriff he also opposed Texas legislation requiring local law enforcement to determine individuals’ immigration status, according to The Texas Tribune. The legislation was viewed as targeting so-called “sanctuary cities.” Gonzalez, like many in law enforcement, said the approach would destroy trust and make their job protecting communities more difficult.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Biden’s pick in a statement Tuesday.

“Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is a strong choice for ICE Director,” Mayorkas said. “With a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Sheriff Gonzalez is well-suited to lead ICE as the agency advances our public safety and homeland security mission. I hope the Senate will swiftly confirm Sheriff Gonzalez to this critical position.”

ICE has long been missing a permanent director to lead the agency.

Gonzales would succeed Tae Johnson, who has been serving as acting ICE director since Jan. 13. He previously served as the agency’s deputy director.

ICE has not had a permanent director since 2017. The agency operated with five acting directors under the Trump administration. This comes as the Biden administration has faced challenges at the border, including a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S.

The announcement of Gonzalez’s nomination comes on the heels of another major announcement from DHS. Mayorkas also announced Tuesday that he has directed ICE and Customs and Border Protection to place new limits on civil immigration enforcement actions in or near courthouses.

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Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Culture

Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Photo via chocolleto/Instagram

Fans of the crispy, buttery Tate’s cookies might be sad when they hear this news. According to current employees, the popular cookie business has been threatening employees who are trying to unionize.

According to multiple employees, Tate’s cookies threatened to contact ICE if workers vote to unionize next month.

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According to Gothamist, most of Tate Bake Shop’s 432 employees are undocumented workers. But the National Labor Relations Act says that undocumented workers have a lawful right to unionize.

The powerhouse baked goods company Mondelēz International owns Tate’s cookies. Additionally, Mondelēz owns other popular brands like Oreo and Chips Ahoy. Local union leaders have called the company “anti-union on steroids”.

Once Tate’s cookies heard rumblings of their workers unionizing, however, they hired an anti-labor consultant. The consultant, Carlos Flores, brags on LinkedIn about keeping businesses “labor free”.

“They began threatening people based on their immigration status, telling them that if their documents are not in order and they attempted to join the labor union they would get deported,” said Eastern States’ Union president, Cosmo Lubrano.

The consultant allegedly told workers that he would review their documentation to see if “everything was in order”. If it wasn’t, he said ICE might “send them back”.

“Just because a worker wants to organize, wants to have representation doesn’t mean a company should make their life miserable,” said Julio, an undocumented worker, to The New York Times.

Tate’s cookies employees only began to discuss the possibility of unionizing when the pandemic hit. Workers felt that the cookie company might not protect them should they fall ill.

“We were in the heart of the pandemic at that time and they didn’t know any of the rules that applied to them,” said Anthony Miranti, an Eastern States’ union delegate.

“Will they get paid if they have to self-quarantine? How do they get safety equipment? They were telling us about how they’re all at minimum wage and needed more paid time off and there was just nobody to listen to their problems.”

Officially, Mondelēz denies all claims or threatening workers. They released a statement saying: “Any allegation that the company has violated any aspect of the National Labor Relations Act is untrue. Tate’s prides itself on treating all its employees with respect, and we have fostered over many years an inclusive, supportive, caring work environment and culture with our employees.”

Despite the threats to their livelihood, many workers still believe unionizing will ultimately be beneficial.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who work in union shops. They say things are better,” said an undocumented worker by the name of Catalina to the New York Times. “Why not give this an opportunity?”

As Miranti says, “I think the workers that produce these products should be able to put their heads down on their pillows at night and know their job is secured, that their family has the best coverage out there, that they’ll have a pension to retire on someday.”

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