For Couple on Way to Give Birth, ICE Had a Different Plan

California man is hauled away after feds say he's wanted on murder charges in Mexico
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 19, 2018 5:42 AM CDT
In this Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 photo released by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, foreign nationals are arrested during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by ICE.   (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)
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(Newser) – A California woman said Saturday that she had to drive herself to the hospital and give birth without her husband after he was detained by immigration agents. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the man was detained because he was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant in a homicide case in Mexico. Maria del Carmen Venegas said she and her husband, Joel Arrona Lara, were driving to the hospital Wednesday when they stopped for gas in San Bernardino. Surveillance footage shows two vehicles flank the couple's van. ICE agents questioned the couple and asked for identification, Venegas said. Venegas, 32, said she provided hers but that Arrona had left his at home in their rush to the hospital. The footage shows the agents handcuffing the 35-year-old Arrona and taking him away, reports the AP, leaving a sobbing Venegas alone at the gas station.

Venegas said she drove herself to the hospital for a scheduled cesarean section for her fifth child. "It is very hard because he was always there," she tells ABC News. "And for me to be alone it feels brutal." Venegas said she and her husband came to the US 12 years ago from central Mexico. They do not have legal authorization to live in the US, and all five of their children are US citizens. In a statement, ICE said Arrona "was brought to ICE's attention due to an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges." ICE said agents with the agency's Fugitive Operations Team detained Arrona on Wednesday and he remained in custody pending removal proceedings. Arrona "denies any criminal history in Mexico and he is unaware of any criminal proceedings in Mexico in which he is named as a defendant," the couple's lawyers tell ABC.

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