Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was taken away by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while his family cried in Pasadena, California, on Feb. 28 (video below).
The 48-year-old father was dropping his daughters off at school when ICE agents, who wore "police" jackets, took him into custody, reports KABC.
The New York Daily News reported only one daughter was being taken to school when Avelica-Gonzalez was detained.
Avelica-Gonzalez's 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, filmed the incident.
"It's really hard what we're going through," Avelica-Gonzalez's daughter Brenda told KABC. "I never thought we would actually go through something like this. It's terrible to feel and see your family being broken apart."
Avelica-Gonzalez was in the country illegally and had lived in the U.S. for more than 25 years. He has four U.S.-born children.
Ricardo Mireles, the executive director of the school, gathered close to two dozen people to lend support to Avelica-Gonzalez's family.
"I think the impacts are going to come in terms of, 'Hey, how do we pay the rent? And how do we move forward?'" Mireles stated. "We want to be able to find resources to help this family go through this process."
According to Mireles, Avelica-Gonzalez was convicted for a DUI almost 10 years ago, and unknowingly bought a car 20 years ago that had an incorrect registration sticker, which were the reasons why Avelica-Gonzalez was targeted for deportation.
"Think about the horrific nature of that situation. It's been really devastating for the family," Emi MacLean, a lawyer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, told the New York Daily News.
MacLean said Avelica-Gonzalez was granted a temporary stay order against deportation after NDLON pressured ICE officials.
Avelica-Gonzalez is being held at a detention center outside Los Angeles.
In response to the incident, ICE released a statement:
Officers with one of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Los Angeles-based Fugitive Operations teams took Mr. Avelica into custody Tuesday morning. Mr. Avelica was targeted for arrest 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.
After conducting surveillance to confirm his identity, the officers arrested Mr. Avelica during a vehicle stop in the 3200 block of Pasadena Avenue, approximately a half mile from the charter school described in the related social media post. No one else was detained during the vehicle stop. Mr. Avelica remains in ICE custody at this time.
Sources: KABC, New York Daily News / Photo credit: National Day Laborer Organizing Network via New York Daily News