Zero tolerance

ICE agents arrest man at gas station, leave pregnant wife to drive herself to hospital for birth

Maria del Carmen Venegas’s birth plans went wildly off-kilter last week when she was left to drive herself to hospital to give birth after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained her husband when the couple stopped to buy gas.

Authorities allege her husband, Joel Arrona-Lara, is wanted on homicide charges in Mexico, where he is a citizen. His legal defense team say that those allegations remain unconfirmed, and his papers show he is being held only for being undocumented.

After being stopped at a San Bernardino gas station, Arrona-Lara was unable to produce ID, telling ICE officers he had left his house in a hurry and offering to return to retrieve his license. Instead, he was taken into custody.

Venegas was left behind and can be seen in security footage from the gas station, visibly upset. She drove herself the rest of the way to the hospital for her scheduled C-section, and has since given birth to the couple’s fifth child, while Arrona-Lara remains in custody at an immigration center in Los Angeles.

“I feel very bad right now,” Venegas told CBS2 News on Friday. “My husband needs to be here. He had to wait for his son for so long, and someone just took him away.”

Emilio Amaya García, director of the Community Services Center of San Bernardino who is representing Arrona-Lara, told Univision that the incident illustrates the Trump administration’s “lack of sensitivity” in enforcing its zero tolerance policy on immigration.

“In this case, not only could they have endangered the life of the mother, but also that of the child, who is a citizen of this country,” García said.

Read the full story at HuffPost.


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