Joel Arrona-Lara was driving his wife to deliver their baby when he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Los Angeles-area station CBS2 reported Friday. He had stopped to get gas at a San Bernardino service station when he was approached by ICE officers demanding identification.

Arrona-Lara’s wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas, was able to provide identification, but her husband could not. Venegas offered to go back and get it for the officers, explaining he and his wife had left their home in a rush, but the agents weren’t interested.

Instead, CBS2 reports, “the agents then asked Arrona to exit the vehicle, searched the car for weapons, and put Arrona into custody, leaving [Venegas] alone at the gas station.”

Venegas had to drive herself to the hospital.

“I feel very bad right now,” Venegas told CBS2 from the hospital, holding her newborn son. “My husband needs to be here. He had to wait for his son for so long, and someone just took him away.”

Arrona-Lara is currently being held in a detention center in downtown Los Angeles. ICE confirmed the detention to the HuffPost on Saturday, and described Arrona-Lara as “a Mexican citizen living in the United States without documents.”

ICE also told HuffPost it is beginning removal proceedings for Arrona-Lara. “ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” the agency said in a statement. Explaining their reasoning for this and other detentions, ICE continued:

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.

In a Spanish-language interview with Univision, Emilio Amaya García, director of the Community Services Center of San Bernardino and Arrona-Lara’s lawyer, highlighted ICE’s “lack of sensitivity.” She continued, “In this case, not only could [ICE] have endangered the life of the mother, but also that of the child, who is a citizen of this country.”



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