Migrant spouse of pregnant woman detained on way to hospital

They do not have legal authorization to live in the US, and all five of their children are US citizens. (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 August 2018
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Migrant spouse of pregnant woman detained on way to hospital

  • Agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement questioned the couple and asked for identification
  • They do not have legal authorization to live in the US, and all five of their children are US citizens

LOS ANGELES: A California woman said Saturday that she had to drive herself to the hospital and give birth without her husband after he was detained by immigration agents.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the man was detained because he was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant in a homicide case in Mexico.
Maria del Carmen Venegas said she and her husband, Joel Arrona Lara, were driving to the hospital Wednesday when they stopped for gas in San Bernardino, just east of Los Angeles.
Surveillance footage shows two vehicles immediately flank the couple’s van after they pulled into the gas station. Agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement questioned the couple and asked for identification, Venegas said.
Venegas, 32, said she provided hers but that Arrona had left his at home in their rush to the hospital. The surveillance footage shows the agents handcuffing the 35-year-old Arrona and taking him away, leaving a sobbing Venegas alone at the gas station.
Venegas said she drove herself to the hospital for a scheduled cesarean section for the birth of her fifth child.
“I feel terrible,” Venegas said in a telephone interview from the hospital as her newborn son Damian cried in the background.
“We need him now more than ever,” she said.
Venegas said she and her husband came to the US 12 years ago from the city of Leon in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. They do not have legal authorization to live in the US, and all five of their children are US citizens, she said.
Venegas said her husband is a hard worker and the sole provider of the family.
In a statement issued Saturday afternoon, Immigration and Custom Enforcement said Arrona “was brought to ICE’s attention due to an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges,” spokeswoman Lori Haley said.
ICE said agents with the agency’s Fugitive Operations Team detained Arrona on Wednesday and said he remained in custody pending removal proceedings.
Though the team prioritizes arresting immigrants who are transnational gang members, child sex offenders and those who’ve had previous convictions for violent crimes, the agency’s statement said it “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,” the statement said.
Emilio Amaya Garcia, director of the San Bernardino Community Service Center, said his nonprofit group is providing legal help to Venegas and Arrona, will file a motion on Monday for an immigration court to set a bail hearing for Arrona and will ask that his removal proceedings be canceled.
Garcia did not respond to messages and calls for comment about the arrest warrant in Mexico.


8 dead in car bombing at police academy in Colombia capital

Updated 7 min 37 sec ago
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8 dead in car bombing at police academy in Colombia capital

  • The scene outside the General Santander police academy in southern Bogota was chaotic in the immediate aftermath of the explosion

BOGOTA: At least eight people were killed and another 10 injured in a car bombing at a police academy in Colombia’s capital on Thursday, authorities said.
The scene outside the General Santander police academy in southern Bogota was chaotic in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, with ambulances and helicopters rushing to the normally tightly controlled facility.
Witnesses said they heard a loud blast that destroyed windows in adjacent apartment buildings. Pictures on social media showed a charred vehicle surrounded by debris on the academy’s leafy campus.
The Defense Ministry said at least 8 people were killed and 10 injured.
Rafael Trujillo said he was delivering a care package to his son Gerson, who entered the school two days ago, when he was stopped in his tracks by the blast a block away from the school’s heavily fortified entrance
“I’m sad and very worried because I don’t have any information about my son,” said Trujillo, standing outside the facility, where police officers had set up a taped perimeter. “This reminds me of some very sad days in the past.”
President Ivan Duque said he and his top military commanders were rushing back to the capital from a visit to a western state to oversee police investigation into what he called a “miserable” attack.
“All of us Colombians reject terrorism and are united in confronting it,” Duque said in a tweet. “We won’t bend in the face of violence.”
For decades, residents of Bogota lived in fear of being caught in a bombing by leftist rebels or Pablo Escobar’s Medellin drug cartel. But as Colombia’s conflict has wound down, security has improved and attacks have become less frequent.
While authorities had yet to suggest who was behind the attack, attention was focused on leftist rebels from the National Liberation Army, which has been stepping up attacks on police targets in Colombia amid a standoff with the conservative Duque over how to re-start stalled peace talks.
The group known as the ELN was long considered a lesser military threat than the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, whose 7,000 guerrilla fighters disarmed as part of a 2016 peace accord. But in the wake of the peace deal the Cuban-inspired insurgency has been gaining strength, especially along the eastern border with Venezuela, where it has carried out a number of kidnappings and bombings of oil pipelines. That has hardened Duque’s resolve in refusing to resume peace talks that have been stalled since he took office last August.
Thursday’s bombing was the deadliest in the capital since an explosion at the upmarket Andino shopping mall in June 2017 killed three people, including a French woman, and injured another 11. Police later arrested several suspected members of a far-left urban guerrilla group called the People Revolutionary’s Movement for the bombing.