things that matter

Immigration Officers Now Claim A Pregnant Woman’s Husband Is Wanted For Murder In Mexico After A Controversial Arrest

CBS Los Angeles / YouTube

A California woman had to drive herself to the hospital and give birth without her husband after he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on the way to the emergency room. The couple, Maria del Carmen Venegas and Joel Arrona-Lara, had pulled into a gas station in San Bernardino, California, on their way to deliver their baby. It was there that ICE officers came to their car window and asked for identification but according to the New York Times, Arrona-Lara didn’t have his driver’s license with him and officers arrested him. But according to ICE officials the man was detained because he was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant in a homicide case in Mexico.

A couple was stopped by immigration authorities during a gas stop on the way to the hospital.

Venegas, who was getting a cesarean section, told KCBS that ICE agents asked her husband to exit their car. They then searched the vehicle for weapons, the security video shows two agents alongside Arrona-Lara with his hands cuffed behind his back. The mother of five then drove herself to the hospital and delivered a baby boy without her husband at her side.

“I never thought that they would take him like that, handcuff him, and that they would leave me stranded at the gas station,” MCarmen Venegas, told NBC Los Angeles.

ICE originally said Arrona-Lara was arrested because he was in the U.S illegally not because of a homicide warrant for him in Mexico.

After news of the arrest came out Saturday afternoon, ICE officials released previously undisclosed details about Arrona-Lara’s arrest. He is wanted in Mexico under a warrant issued for homicide charges, ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said in a public statement, which brought the attention of agents.

Emilio Amaya of the Community Services Center of San Bernardino, who is representing Arrona-Lara, told KCBS he has not been able to confirm ICE’s claim that his client is wanted on homicide charges. Arrona-Lara’s detention papers indicate he is in custody for being in the U.S. without documentation.

“According to the family, he has no criminal history in Mexico, and we did our own search through Mexican channels and we didn’t find anything under his name,” Amaya told the New York Times. Arrona Lara has no criminal record in the United States, according to Amaya.

The agency’s policy says that it concentrates on people 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,” Haley said in the statement. She declined to say whether the ICE agents considered delaying Arrona-Lara’s arrest until after the birth or could have escorted Venegas to the hospital, given her condition.

There are still many questions concerning the arrest and people want answers now.

Reaction online has condemned ICE for the arrest and the way it has handled criticism. Some are upset that ICE officials never mentioned the homicide charges in the original arrest and only after the backlash.

ICE has ramped up arrests under the Trump administration following executive orders that directed the agency to pursue any undocumented person in the country. For instance, the administration in March rescinded an Obama-era directive that generally ordered immigration officials to release pregnant women from custody.


READ: Officials Opened A School To Provide Shelter For Kids After Their Parents Were Detained By ICE

Share this story by tapping that share button below!

There Is A Growing Database That Is Connecting Latinos With Culturally Competent Therapists

Things That Matter

There Is A Growing Database That Is Connecting Latinos With Culturally Competent Therapists

Therapy For Latinx

For many Latinos, mental health still carries a very real and very scary stigma. The statistics support this as there are an estimated 8.9 million Latino people in the U.S. that live with a diagnosable mental illness, but only 10 percent of Latinos with a mental health disorder seek mental health treatment. The disparity comes from several factors including lack of culturally competent therapists and high health care costs. Brandie Carlos knows firsthand about dealing with depression and the stigma Latinos sometimes face when seeking help for mental health issues. That was enough motivation for Carlos, a web designer, to create Therapy For Latinx, an online database that helps Latinos find mental health professionals in their own communities.

Therapy for Latinx is a website dedicated to helping Latinos find “culturally competent” therapists in their own communities.

Creator Brandie Carlos found herself lost in February 2017 when one of her best friends died by suicide. She was frustrated when she couldn’t find a therapist who spoke Spanish and understood her culturally.

“I tried seeking Latino therapy but nothing came up,” Carlos says. “It was when found out about a Black therapy database I thought to myself, ‘Why not a Latino version of this?'”

She put her website design skills to use and launched Therapy for Latinx this May. The website currently has over 65 Latino mental health practitioners in it’s directory and features a blog that highlights first-person stories of mental illness from a Latino perspective.

“I didn’t have a metal health or psychological background,” Carlos explains. “All I wanted was to focus on user friendliness when creating a website that would help people find these resources.”

Carlos argues that mental health needs to be talked about more, especially within Latino households.

According to the American Psychological Association, 50 percent of Latinos don’t return to a psychologist after the first session which may be due to the language and cultural barriers. Carlos says it also has to due with stigmas and taboos in the Latino household when seeking mental help.

“I personally grew up depressed and under a Catholic family where things like mental health and depression weren’t talked about,” Carlos says. “You are either called a ‘Loca’ or crazy when you express a need for self-care.”

About 1 percent of U.S. psychologist practitioners identify as Latino, which shows the lack of cultural competency one may find when seeking help. Additionally suicide rates among Latino girls (grades 9–12) are 50 percent higher than suicide rates among white girls of the same age group.

Therapy for Latinx is helping connect Latinos to mental health services they never knew existed.

Carlos hopes the website grows beyond just a database but a nationwide resource for minorities to find help and seek information on mental health. There are plans to start a mentorship program to help more people of color (POC) be involved in the industry to help their communities.

“Once I started working on making things more accessible, I realized this is about social justice as well,” Carlos said. “As Latinos we’re incredibly underserved and I want to see these new mentors serve POCs.”

According to Carlos, one community that is heavily underserved are undocumented immigrants. This community has faced psychological attacks because of their immigration status and the current immigration debate in the U.S.

“We’ve had many people ask for help concerning immigration and LGBTQ services,” Carlos says. “We are always trying to grow our voice and help these marginalized groups find resources.”

The website is just a start in addressing mental health and the beginning of a larger discussion when it comes to Latinos and their mental health.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Mental Health America

Therapy for Latinx is growing at a fast rate, Carlos says its Instagram has averaged around 1500 new users a month, and wants to spread its services beyond just a database. Carlos hopes to have health workshops throughout the country and has already began planning a mental health event in Los Angeles. While there is still a ways to go in having more Latino health professionals reach the number of Latinos in the U.S., Carlos sees the discussion of mental health growing into a bigger conversation.

“When you’ve grown up speaking Spanish, it’s part of your identity. When a therapist speaks your language it makes a huge difference,” Carlos says. “It means a lot of Latinos are going to thrive without these cultural barriers stopping them.”


READ: 20 Famous Latinos Who’ve Publicly Dealt With Mental Illness

Have you personally dealt with mental health issues?  Let us know by sharing your story in the comment section below!

Paid Promoted Stories