This article has been updated from its original version.
After US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested an undocumented immigrant as he and his pregnant wife were on their way to the hospital for the birth of their child, ICE released a statement alleging that the person abruptly taken into custody was wanted for a serious violent crime in Mexico: homicide.
Surveillance video from the San Bernardino Arco station at Highland and Mountainview avenues provided visual evidence of ICE agents taking the murder suspect into custody.
María del Carmen Venegas said she and her husband, Joel Arrona-Lara, were headed to the hospital for a scheduled C-section when ICE agents took Arrona-Lara into custody as they stopped for fuel.
The agents, Venegas said, approached the couple and asked them for their IDs, but Arrona-Lara was not carrying his documents at the time of the stop. Venegas said she thought the agents were confused and that they initially promised it wouldn't take long and the couple could be on their way.
"I asked them why they separate good people, why they weren't arresting people who do bad things, and I asked them to let us go," Venegas said in Spanish. "They told me they were only doing their job."
The agents arrested Arrona, and Venegas was forced to get in the driver's seat and continue to the hospital to give birth without her husband present.
"I never thought that they would take him like that, handcuff him, and that they would leave me stranded at the gas station," Venegas said.
Below is the complete statement from ICE on the incident, where the agency says Arrona-Lara is a murder suspect:
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 currently in ICE custody pending removal proceedings with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
Mr. Arrona-Lara was brought to ICE’s attention due to an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges.
ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. However, 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 immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.