Highland Park family relieved after dad's deportation order thrown out

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Highland Park family fighting to stay together is feeling some relief after a deportation order was vacated for a man picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while dropping his kids off at school.

The Board of Immigration Appeals vacated the deportation order for Romulo Avelica on Thursday.

"I'm very happy the BIA did the right thing to end his order for deportation, and I'm very thankful for that," said Avelica's daughter, Fatima Avelica.

Her father told her he's very happy to be one step closer to being back with his family.

Fatima, now 14, was recording with her cellphone when her father was picked up by ICE agents as he dropped her sister off at school on the morning of Feb. 28.

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While being dropped off at school with her sisters, 13-year-old Fatima Avelica recorded her undocumented father being picked up by agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In June, lawyers removed a decades-old conviction Avelica had for driving under the influence and receiving stolen car tabs.

This week, the BIA approved an application for a stay of his deportation on the day he could have been deported.

Attorney Alan Diamante says he received word Thursday night that the BIA vacated the deportation order, sending the case back to local immigration court.

Avelica also has a pending application for a U visa, which grants protection for victims of violent crimes.

He has a bond hearing on Aug. 30 and could be released that day.

An ICE spokesperson told Eyewitness News that the agency will not be providing a response regarding this case due to recent developments.
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