Immigration agents arrived at the Hays County jail a little before noon Wednesday to take Victor Avendano into custody. Avendano was arrested Tuesday and supporters of his were trying to keep him from being turned over to immigration officials. A rally had been planned for Wednesday.
Members of his church in Wimberley, Texas had been praying for his release, while others, like Tara Racine with Wimberley Indivisible, were calling the jail urging the Sheriff to let Avendano return home.
“Wimberley is a tightknit community and we take care of our own and this community is concerned, they’re praying but they’re doing more than that,” Racine said.
Avendano had been stopped by a police officer in Kyle, Texas Tuesday morning for allegedly rolling through a stop sign. Nancy Munoz with local immigrant advocacy group Mano Amiga said that Avendano is a grocery store baker and was on his way to work. The father and grandfather, according to Munoz, has been in the country for more than a decade.
“I think it’s easy to say that someone that has a traffic violation should not be sent to a country that they haven’t lived in for quite a while,” said Munoz.
Investigators say Avendano was taken to the county jail because of two active warrants. One for driving without a license in 2014. Another issued a year later was for failure to show up for court. According to a statement from the sheriffs office, Avendano admitted he was not a U.S. citizen and as result, immigration officials were notified.
His removal before the Wednesday rally was disappointing for organizers, but they promised the fight for his release would not end.
“We continue to persevere, we are persistent and we will continue to do what we can to do what is just,” said Racine.
With Avendano gone only a handful of people turned out for the rally. Officials with Homeland security could not provide a date for the deportation hearing.