An emergency stay was issued Monday to keep Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, 48, from being deported, according to a statement from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON).
Avelica-Gonzalez was arrested Feb. 28 by immigration officials while dropping his daughters off at school, according to NDLON. He had previously received a stay from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that was due to expire Monday.
"This is my country. I have roots and family here," Avelica-Gonzalez said in a statement.
Avelica-Gonzalez was targeted by ICE "because relevant databases indicate he has multiple prior criminal convictions, including a DUI in 2009, as well an outstanding order of removal dating back to 2014," according to a statement issued after his release. He'd also received a misdemeanor conviction 18 years ago for possessing a car with an illegally obtained vehicle registration sticker, according to his attorney.
The convictions for the DUI and registration sticker have been set aside by judges, but he is still in the country illegally, which means his potential deportation remains at the discretion of the federal government.
Avelica-Gonzalez of Lincoln Heights has lived in Los Angeles for 25 years and has four children who are U.S. citizens, according to NDLON. He was working as a cook at the time of his arrest.
"He should not be imprisoned just for trying to live a better life and stay with his family," Avelica-Gonzalez's 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, said in a statement.
She took video of her father's arrest, which went viral online.
Avelica-Gonzalez and his wife have applied for legal status, with his wife applying for what's known as a U-Visa, which is reserved for victims of crimes.
"Our district is dealing with the aftermath of having ICE raids in our community," City Councilman Gil Cedillo said in a statement. "His deportation would be detrimental to his family and unnerving to the entire community."
Kenneth Gardner, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said officials had no comment about the decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals. "The decision speaks for itself," Gardner wrote in an email.