by Will Racke
An illegal alien who was arrested in southern California while taking
his pregnant wife to the hospital is wanted for murder in Mexico,
immigration authorities said Saturday.
Joel Arrona Lara, 36, was detained by Immigration and Customs
Enforcement officers on Wednesday at a gas station in San Bernardino,
California. At the time, Arrona was taking his wife, Maria del Carmen
Venegas, to the hospital for a scheduled cesarean section, CBS 2 Los
News of Arrona Lara’s arrest quickly spread nationally,
with several media outlets characterizing it as an example of the Trump
administration’s heavy-handed crackdown on illegal immigration.
Venegas told CBS 2 in Spanish that Arrona Lara had never been stopped
by police and didn’t have a criminal record of any kind, including
But immigration authorities say Arrona Lara is not just an otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrant.
He is also wanted by Mexican authorities for murder.
“Mr. Arrona-Lara was brought to ICE’s attention due to an outstanding
warrant for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges,” ICE spokeswoman
Lori Haley told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Security footage from the gas station shows Arrona Lara getting out
of his car and being intercepted by ICE officers. A visibly distraught
Venegas is then seen using a phone shortly after Arrona Lara is taken
Arrona Lara’s lawyer, Emilio Amaya Garcia, accused ICE officers of endangering Venegas and her unborn baby.
“In this case, not only did they put the life of the mother in
danger, but also that of the child, who is a citizen of this country,”
Univision on Thursday.
Arrona Lara has reportedly been living illegally in the U.S. for 12
years. ICE released the following statement about his arrest on Friday:
“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
“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.”
A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.