Fatima Avelica, 13, was being dropped off at school in Highland Park, near Los Angeles, with her sisters when the ICE agents swooped on her father Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, 48.
Mr Avelica-Gonzalez is reportedly being deported to Mexico because of a DUI conviction, which dates from almost 10 years ago. He is also accused of buying a car with an incorrect registration sticker almost two decades ago.
An executive order President Trump issued in January compels federal immigration agents to step up enforcement, with Trump saying they would focus initially on criminal offenders.
Fatima’s older sister Brenda told ABC7: ‘It’s really hard what we’re going through. I never thought we’d actually go through something like this. It’s terrible to feel and see your family being broken apart.’
Ricardo Mireles, the executive director of the Academia Avance school which the girls attend, said: ‘The impacts (of his arrest) are going to come in terms of “Hey, how do we pay the rent? And how do we move forward?”‘
An attorney for the family is reportedly trying to obtain a U-visa, which would allow Mr Avelica-Gonzalez to remain in the country.
U-visas were designed to help victims of crime, those who have suffered mental or physical abuse or those who have helpful law enforcement and it is not known why Mr Avelica-Gonzalez would be eligible for one.