Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday afternoon, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) vacated the deportation order for Romulo Avelica, the LA father of four US citizen daughters who was arrested February 28 while dropping his daughters off in school. This is an important victory for the case of Mr. Avelica, as the Board rejected an earlier ruling which had originally upheld a March 27, 2014 removal order. Now, the case has been returned to an immigration judge to consider whether or not Mr. Avelica is eligible for the relief he previously sought, which can be available for individuals who have lived for an extended period of time in the United States and have U.S. citizen family members who would suffer severe hardship in the case of a deportation.
Officially, the BIA acknowledged that the offense for which Mr. Avelica had been convicted at the time of his initial arrest by ICE (CPC Sec. 496(a), or receipt of stolen property) was not a crime which would categorically exclude him from immigration relief as a so-called “crime involving moral turpitude.” Nevertheless, this conviction was vacated earlier this year and has no immigration consequences.
Mr. Avelica has been in custody at Adelanto Detention Center for more than five months. Now, Romulo Avelica’s family, friends and advocates call on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release Mr. Avelica immediately.