But He’s Still In the Country Illegally!

The media coverage of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) arrest of Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez has been utterly disturbing. And it is unsettling not due to the mind-boggling quantity of sappy pseudo-journalism, nor because of the wild inaccuracies in most of the pieces. It is shocking because nearly all of the coverage has missed the key point: Avelica-Gonzalez is unlawfully present in the United States. In plain English, he’s an illegal alien. And that’s why he’s been ordered deported. Yet, that fact that is barely mentioned in the majority of the reportage.

The LA Times informs us that his criminal convictions are nearly two decades old. NBC News notes that those convictions were plea-bargained down to misdemeanors. Other outlets have bemoaned the fact that Avelica-Gonzalez is a father of four and that he lived in the U.S. for nearly 25 years before ICE arrested him. Still others have wailed that the Big Blue Meanies at ICE arrested him – gasp and swoon – right after he dropped his daughter off at middle school.

All of those details are irrelevant. Working, paying taxes, staying out of trouble and supporting one’s family are baseline obligations in the United States. They are what is expected of functioning members of society. They aren’t the sort of “above and beyond the call of duty” behavior that qualifies an illegal alien for a rare grant of relief from removal.

But these red herrings are brought into immigration news coverage in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. The mainstream media wants news consumers to believe that that ICE is doing something immoral and un-American. Why? Because the cultural elites who write for big box media outlets don’t like the idea of borders. It interferes with their utopian, internationalist fantasies.

The real story in this case is significantly less sympathetic than the LA Times, NBC News and their cohorts would have us believe. Avelica-Gonzalez didn’t want to wait in line to come to the United States, so he broke the law and snuck in. He wanted to drive but, because he was unlawfully present in the United States, he couldn’t register his car. So he broke the law again and obtained stolen license plates. Then, disregarding the safety of everyone else on the road, he broke the law and drove drunk. One wonders, at what point did Avelica-Gonzalez plan on obeying laws that stood in the way of his personal desires?

Most of us – at least those of us who don’t work in mainstream journalism – understand that immigration enforcement isn’t based on any xenophobic impulse to ostracize the “other.” Rather, it is a logical attempt to avoid the type of chaos that occurs in a world without limits. Think of the utter pandemonium that would result if everyone chose to disregard every inconvenient law with the frequency that Avelica-Gonzalez did.

So, while Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez might not want to leave the United States, he is certainly not the victim of any injustice. Actions have consequences. His deliberate and consistent disregard for American law are what led to his deportation. Neither U.S. immigration law, nor the hard-working men and women of ICE are to blame.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar
    Sabine Durden on

    Great write up on someone who has been playing the USA for a fool. He had enough time to get his papers, but instead he conned his way through the system. He AND the family can all go together and live in Mexico. Unlike myself and thousands of others who’s loved ones were killed by an illegal. We have no more choices. Their lives were cut short by someone who decided they don’t have to follow our laws and get special privileges. The sob stories don’t work no more. Deport…next

  2. avatar
    Trump save us! on

    Why are USA Citizens shooting themselves in the foot? Ignorance and yellow journalism. In California Illegal Aliens have more rights than the USA Citizens, and our crooked Politicians know it. The Mexican born and other immigrants have 80% of the jobs and are screwing over the natural born citizens of the California. Its a sad time in USA history.

  3. avatar

    We are suppesed to be a nation of laws .. for a civilized society .. it is never OK for anyone to cut in line and expect for everyone to just get over it. There are too many who go through the legal process and make sacrifices .. Regardless of any of the propaganda in support of this criminal .. he broke the law, has no legal rights to be here .. however, we do not know the details like was he on the dole? Did he prevent an American from having a job? raised 4 Beautiful Children?? and not only DUI (kind of wonder about domestic violence since it is kinda part of their culture. For the very reason he allegedly has some beutiful children .. they MUST see that we must hold him accountable for the children’s sake .. He should surely be DEPORTED .. end of discussion.. if he was such an upstanding individual he would have been more careful and would not of got behind the wheel while he was DRUNK 🙁 Not Far (INJUST) for all others who made sacrifices to follow the LAW … He should be deported and if his family (the leagl American Citizens) do not like it .. they should join him IMHO 🙁 Boo Hiss

  4. avatar

    If they are in this country illegally then they are breaking the law, and should be shipped back to where they came from. This could lead to other illegal activities.

  5. avatar
    Coruption killer on

    The head attorney for immigration rights that was representing mexico put the culture of corruption that is now synonymous with our politicians and law enforcement said this. Other people can break laws so why cant we? that was his brainy intelligent legal like stance he gave for why illegals should be able to live in the U.S.A. WTF?

  6. avatar

    Its funny how people dont have a problem with US citizens facing the consequences of their actions but illegals are not supposed to.

    We were sold a car but not given a cleared title so we couldnt legally title the car. Had all the paperwork with car insurance but the local sheriff didnt car as the temp tag said April on it and it was August. Didnt matter we were trying to clear the title or we couldnt afford to bond for the title. They said we were trying hard enough so they impounded the car in the nieghbouring county (this is the border). To get the car back; we had to not only pay the impound costs and the towing but the costs to get the car legally registered which we still couldnt do. We lost the car. That was 2 years ago this month. NOw we spend hours on the bus going no where fast as we didnt have an extra $200 and our state refused to provide state id or drivers license info on the people who sold us the car so we could get the car legally titled. Illegals though; doubt this would have happened to them.

    • avatar

      16 months to afford that piece of junk and sold to us by an immigrant too; going to school here. Pretty nice of him to take our money and not clear us a clear title to register the car.

  7. avatar

    Maybe we should never arrest any criminals that have children? Maybe we should let all criminals out of prison if they have children/families? That is crazy for anyone to say a family or children of the criminal negates the crime. The person should think about how their crimes can affect their own family before they commit them! It’s called personal responsibility!

  8. avatar

    Matt you said

    His deliberate and consistent disregard for American law are what led to his deportation/…

    I do not see that only the DUI…. do you have proof of it?

    • avatar

      She has children here that are US citizens. He is no drug dealer nor criminal……..it would be unfair to separate them from his family and ha has paid his taxes apparently……

    • avatar
      Joseph White on

      He’s in the country illegally. That should be all you need to know. On the basis of his illegal entry, then buying of forged license plates, then the driving while drunk. He has shown a disregard for the laws of the land.

    • avatar

      Maybe we should never arrest any criminals that have children? Maybe we should let all criminals out of prison if they have children/families? That is crazy for anyone to say a family or children of the criminal negates the crime. The person should think about how their crimes can affect their own family before they commit them! It’s called personal responsibility!

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