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A viral video saved his father from National Geographic Deportation




On February 28, 2017, Fatima Avelica, 13, saw her father, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, being detained by immigration agents. She took out her phone and started recording. In the video, which went viral almost instantly, you can hear it crying. The family was immediately put in the spotlight, attending press conferences and rallies for the father's release. This intimate and emotional piece shows how the family copes, more than a year later.
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Read the full story of the July 2018 magazine, "How Latinos Shape the Future of America."

This story is part of Diversity in America, a National Geographic series covering racial, ethnic and religious groups and examining their changing roles in 21st century life. Tell us your story with #IDefineMe.

Viral video saved his father from National Geographic deportation

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26 comments

  1. Fatima Avelica recorded her father being arrested and detained by immigration agents, which helped him unexpectedly when her video went viral. What are your thoughts on her family's experience?

  2. Some people are missing the entire point here! Let me simplify this to everyone who may not understand. If you break the law, you go to jail, its simple as that. I myself cannot go and break the law and say "Hey I have a 13 year old daughter or a 5 year old son, please don't take my kids away from me." If that was the case, than no one would be in jail (Well the ones that have kids) and this world would be in chaos. Kids have to suffer for the parents mistakes and its ashamed. It is wrong for parents to use their kids as pawns to get what they want. It is not fair and not right. Laws are in place to protect the people and society.

  3. They should stick to the deportation. Now knowing he is illegal, an investigation into his friends and family should be opened. People tend to stick by others with similar lives. His daughter is here because of a loop hole, she is nothing more than an anchor for her parents to hold onto. The left is concerned about closing loopholes maybe that's one they could tackle.

  4. Wow!!This people looks like a real threat,even more so than the Russians and 100 times more than when the president gave away U.S. Intel to the Russian spies inside the the WH,no AP allowed..very scary ?

  5. A message from a LEGAL immigrant: "Illegals are NOT WELCOME here!" Thank you.

  6. So instead of animal footage you deliver left wing propaganda. Fantastic.

  7. He lived in LA for over 25 years, has a family and job and those stupid people doing this. just horrible ! Evil TRUMP !

  8. He abandoned his countrymen so he could struggle in America? What an idiot. No wonder we make the citizenship test so hard.

  9. Been here 25 years and still can't speak English. ICE should have raided them at the party, because I bet it was 75% Illegal immigrants there!

  10. No sympathy for someone that had 25 years. That being said, it appears that he and his family are good citizens and I hope that it becomes easier for contributing families and individuals to gain citizenship.

  11. I personally think that illigal emigration both in the US and in Italy has to stop immidiately, i know this is harsh but if you think about it, if you let more people inside your country that don't have a certain level of education and don't have any money to pay for it ,
    The first that will happen is that they won't find a substainable paying job
    2nd thing that will happen is that most of these people will relie on alternative ways of supporting their families such as prostitution, drug dealing and robbery.
    Which cause more problems for the state the have recided in
    So there you have it my opinion.

  12. its time i unsub what happened to National Geographic is they turned into buzzfeed (not a compliment )
    the largest human rights violators against illegal border jumpers is Mexico .

  13. Illegal immigrant problems?
    US must allow every Mexican with children to have a citizenship.

  14. Build the wall. Americans are broke and homeless while they give to these criminals.

  15. Nat Geo is becoming the new WaPo! pure Propaganda!

  16. Okay. I am a immigrant. I came here legally when I was 1. I know a lot can’t afford to come here legally but when you have been living in this country for 25 years and haven’t made an attempt to get at least a green card, that’s on you. Before trump, it was not that hard to become a citizen or a green card holder unless you had very serious criminal history. I have sympathy for these people but then I don’t. I’m not a trump supporter but they do have a point. Yes, it cost money to get a green card or become a citizen but they should of thought about it before popping out kids. Illegals never thought they needed to do anything because nobody thought someone like trump would do what he is doing.

  17. I wish all family could be together as this family

  18. Nice and all… but 25 years and he didn't even manage to learn english?

  19. When social media actually does good!

  20. Behold y'all. the POWER OF LOVE!

  21. Latinos have been MAJORITIES NOT MINORITIES in many parts of the us. Just face that fact.

  22. So its okay if you break the law as long as you have a teary eyed child. Great news for the criminals.

  23. My wife's aunt and uncle spent no less than a dozen years getting legal countless meeting w lawyers and money never breaking any laws (never crossed illegal) today they can come and go but…..they rarely leave, America is badass fk this guy straight up my wife's aunt already speaks some English w less than 2 years being here she loves it here

  24. I can rob a bank and as long as the video goes viral then im saved