ICE Arrests Husband Taking Pregnant Wife to Hospital, Forcing Her to Drive Alone

In San Bernardino, California, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a man driving his pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth last Wednesday, sparking widespread outrage. The ICE agents detained Joel Arrona-Lara when he stopped at a gas station, forcing his wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas, to drive herself to the hospital for her scheduled C-section. The couple has lived in the United States for more than 10 years and has five children, including their newborn baby. For more, we speak with Joel Arrona-Lara’s lawyer Russell Jauregui, staff attorney at the San Bernardino Community Service Center.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in California, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained and arrested a man who was taking his pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth. Joel Arrona-Lara was driving his wife Maria del Carmen Venegas to a San Bernardino hospital Wednesday morning for a scheduled C-section when ICE agents detained him at a gas station. Surveillance video shows two ICE vehicles surrounding the couple’s car immediately after they pulled into the station to get gas. Maria del Carmen Venegas said agents asked the couple for identification, but that her husband had left his documents at home in the rush to get to the hospital. ICE agents then handcuffed him and took him into custody, leaving the 9-month-pregnant Venegas at the gas station sobbing in distress. She then drove herself to the hospital and gave birth alone several hours later.

ICE said, in a statement, Joel Arrona-Lara was detained because he’s wanted in Mexico on homicide charges. But Arrona-Lara’s lawyer says the charges are unconfirmed and that he has no criminal record. Videos of the incident circulated online over the weekend, sparking national outrage. But ICE issued a statement saying, quote, ”ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to…

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