ICE detains man driving pregnant wife to hospital for delivery

US officials say Joel Arrona Lara was detained due to an outstanding arrest warrant in a homicide case in Mexico

Joel Arrona-Lara and his wife, María del Carmen Venegas, had scheduled a cesarean section and were headed to the hospital when they stopped for gas in San Bernardino, Calif.

"Mr. Arrona-Lara was brought to ICE's attention due to an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges", said ICE spokesperson Lori Haley, as reported in The Daily Caller and other outlets.

ICE said agents with the agency's Fugitive Operations Team detained Arrona on Wednesday and said he remained in custody pending removal proceedings.

Venegas and her family could not be reached for comment.

Venegas, 32, said she provided hers but that Arrona had left his at home in their rush to the hospital. I suppose you could make the point that ICE agents could have followed him to the hospital and taken him into custody once his wife was getting treatment, but ICE is not a babysitting service. She complied. The agents also asked for Arronas identification.

Venegas was devastated that her husband was arrested.

ICE said in its statement, "Mr. Arrona-Lara, a citizen of Mexico illegally residing in the United States, was taken into custody Wednesday by ICE Fugitive Operations Team officers in San Bernardino, Calif. Mr. Arrona-Lara is now in ICE custody pending removal proceedings with the Executive Office for Immigration Review". The agents searched the auto and led Arrona-Lara away in handcuffs, leaving his wife frantic.

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Venegas showed the agents her ID, but said her husband did not have his with him.

"It is very hard because he was always there", the mother said.

Venegas waited at the gas station for a while, she said. Many publications didn't even include the fact Arrona-Lara was a homicide suspect in their reports.

"The last thing he knew was that I was here in the hospital", she told Univision.

It added, "However, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement".

The statement said ICE normally focuses on people who pose a threat to public safety. In April 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors on the US-Mexico border to adopt a "zero tolerance" policy towards undocumented immigration, a hardline approach that lead to the separation of thousands of families.

But in its statement on Friday after it arrested Arrona-Lara, ICE didn't mention a murder charge, and his lawyer told CBS Los Angeles that the Mexican consulate said it didn't have any information about any possible charges. The couple are the parents of five children. "All those who violate immigration laws would be subject to an immigration arrest and, if a final order determines their removal, be deported from the United States".

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