Lawyers Settle Criminal Cases Against Father Detained by ICE While Dropping Off Daughter at Highland Park School

Fatima Avelica, left, with sister Yuleni, mother Norma and aunt Martina Avelica earlier this month at L.A. Superior Court to support her father, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, an immigrant who was detained by ICE agents as he drove her to school in Highland Park. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Lawyers for a father detained by immigration officials after dropping off his daughter at school in Los Angeles settled the two decades-old misdemeanor convictions that prompted his arrest.

Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, 49, instead pleaded guilty to lesser vehicle code violations.

ICE officials had cited a deportation order based on the former misdemeanor convictions as the reason for picking him up. His lawyers hope that with the changes, ICE will grant his release and cancel his deportation order.

Avelica-Gonzalez, a Mexican citizen who has lived in the United States for 25 years, has remained in immigration detention for nearly four months. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents pulled him over and detained him in Highland Park, six blocks from the Lincoln Heights school where he had dropped off his 12-year-old daughter minutes before. Another daughter in the car with him, now 14, sobbed as she recorded cellphone video of the encounter.

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