A California man driving his wife to the hospital for the delivery of their baby was detained and taken into custody before his wife gave birth according to the couple’s lawyers.
The lawyer said the husband had no criminal record but was taken into custody after stopping at a gas station in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday. The couple was on their way to the hospital for a scheduled C-section when the incident occurred, Maria de Carmen Venegas told Univision in Spanish.
“[I asked] why are you taking my husband, and they said, somebody had reported us,” Carmen said, not understanding how that was possible. “I said we are hard workers,”
The woman was left to give birth to her child without her husband, and in the interview after the birth, she said it was very difficult.
“It is very hard because he was always there and he would say – everything will be okay and not to worry, that we will meet the baby – And for me to be alone it feels brutal.”
An attorney representing Carmen Venegas told ABC News that her husband, Arrona-Lara, was detained for not carrying proper identification on him. The lawyer for the family, Emilio Amaya, said the father has no criminal record and no arrest warrant.
A man driving his pregnant wife to a hospital for delivery of their baby was detained and taken into custody by immigration agents, according to the couple's lawyer and a news report. https://t.co/1dCNiItSXE pic.twitter.com/acmXw85Drc
— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2018
The lawyer told the press that witnesses at the gas station saw U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (ICE) there prior to the family pulling up. However once the car pulled up to get gas, the agents approached the family randomly.
In a statement put out after the situation, ICE said that the father is an undocumented immigrant in custody, with pending removal proceedings.
“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.,” the agency said. “Mr. Arrona-Lara is currently in ICE custody pending removal proceedings with the Executive Office for Immigration Review.”
Although ICE is said to focus on individuals who pose a threat to security, public or national safety, in their statement they said they “will no longer exempt” others from potential enforcement.
“However, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” the statement said. “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.”
While awaiting proceedings, Carmen Venegas is left to raise five children, from newborn to 13-years-old, by herself and without her husband.