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Readers React: No sympathy from this legal resident for an unauthorized immigrant father arrested in front of his family

Romulo Avelica Gonzalez, who was detained in February 2017 while driving his daughters to school, embraces his grandson after being released from the Adelanto Detention Facility on Aug. 30.
Romulo Avelica Gonzalez, who was detained in February 2017 while driving his daughters to school, embraces his grandson after being released from the Adelanto Detention Facility on Aug. 30.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In the Los Angeles Times’ print edition, there was front-page coverage and two additional pages filled with color photos and a news report about Romulo Avelica Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant whose daughter videotaped his February 2017 arrest in Lincoln Heights. (“How one L.A. father’s arrest put an entire neighborhood on edge,” April 5)

The article barely mentions Avelica’s brushes with the law and his violation of U.S. immigration code. Instead, he is portrayed sympathetically to a generally naive American citizenry, most of which has had no experience of the trials and hardships of applying legally at the American consulate in their home countries for a chance to emigrate to the United States.

When will I read a similarly prominent story about those who follow the U.S. immigration laws and wait patiently for years for their legal papers to come to this country? They have their dreams too, and every year they stand in line waiting, they miss opportunities for work, advancement and a better life not only for themselves, but also their spouses and children. And there are thousands of these people.

I went through that process, and so did my brother, who waited 20 years to get permission to come to the United States. My brother’s life was put on hold too — but he was thousands of miles away, whereas Avelica was already benefiting from his unauthorized stay in the United States when immigration authorities put his life on hold.

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And here he is, hoping to cut in line in front of the thousands waiting their turn to become legal immigrants.

Rogelio Peña, Montebello

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To the editor: It is a triumph, not a weakness, to be an immigrant in the United States.

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The current occupant of the Oval Office would have us think that a nation built on immigration (including members of his family) somehow stains us. That attitude couldn’t be further from the truth.

People in this country should stop fighting that dream and applaud the triumph of every person who has contributed to “we the people.”

Rodney K. Boswell, Thousand Oaks

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To the editor: As a father, my heart goes out to Avelica. However, he broke several laws, and now he must be held accountable for his choices.

Lawful arrests are intended to send a message to any community, not just a community comprising illegal immigrants. The story notes the discomforts of Avelica’s detention at a facility for immigrants, but incarceration in any facility is an unpleasant experience, undoubtedly by design.

The fact Avelica is dedicated to his work at a taqueria in Lincoln Heights is commendable, but it does not trump his violation of our state and national laws.

John Kelley, Georgetown, Texas

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To the editor: If this story was meant to elicit sympathy, it didn’t work.

Not only is Avelica an illegal immigrant, but he was also found to be guilty of driving with stolen vehicle registration tags and, later, driving under the influence. Both he and his wife are here illegally and should be deported at once, and his children are free to join them.

Enforcing existing immigration laws would serve to raise wages for those who compete for jobs with those 11 million people here illegally. It would also decrease sprawl and congestion and reduce the demand for housing .

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I don’t agree with President Trump on most issues, but I’m in his corner on this one.

Randle C. Sink, Huntington Beach

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