New mother says ICE detained husband on the way to hospital

A new mother says Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained her husband as they drove to the hospital for the birth of their child.

Maria del Carmen Venegas told the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles that her husband, Joel Arrona Lara, was driving her to the hospital to get a planned Cesarean section on Wednesday afternoon when ICE agents surrounded their car at a gas station.

She said she complied with the agents’ request for identification. When Arrona said he didn’t have his on him, the agents allegedly asked him to get out of the car to search for weapons. When he did, Venegas said they took him into custody. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Video captured the incident as well as Venegas's distress inside the gas station after her husband was taken away.

ICE confirmed to the local Univision and Telemundo stations that Arrona is in custody.

"Mr. Arrona-Lara is currently in the custody of ICE pending deportation procedures before the Executive Office of Immigration Review," according to a spokesperson. "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." 

ICE Spokeswoman Lori Haley added in a statement to The Hill on Saturday, “Mr. Arrona-Lara was brought to ICE’s attention due to an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges.”

Venegas said she went to the hospital by herself to give birth. She told CBS2 News that Arrona had never been in trouble with the law. She added she is looking to hire an attorney to secure her husband’s release.

-- Updated 6:42 p.m.