Things That Matter

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

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

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Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

Things That Matter

Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

For years now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been enforcing cruel and, in many opinions, illegal immigration policies that have affected the most vulnerable among us. And they’ve been doing it without a permanent leader who can be held accountable.

The Trump administration relied on interim leaders and deputy secretaries to head the sprawling and powerful agency. Now, President Biden has nominated a frequent outspoken Trump critic to lead the agency and many are hopeful there could be real change.

The White House has nominated Texas sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead ICE.

President Joe Biden has nominated a Texas sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, to lead ICE. Gonzalez has been the sheriff of Harris County (parts of Houston, TX) since 2017, leading the state’s largest sheriffs department. He has led a team of 5,000 employees in the position and previously served 18 years with the Houston Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant, according to his profile on his office’s website.

Gonzalez has also been a vocal critic of elements of former President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement policies.

Gonzalez is the second such critic to be selected by Biden for a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security, following the nomination two weeks ago of Tucson, AZ., Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Gonzalez has long been a voice of reason within law enforcement leading many to be hopeful for change.

During his first term as sheriff Gonzalez ended a program with ICE that trained 10 Harris County deputies to determine the immigration status of prisoners, and hold for deportation those in the country illegally.

As sheriff he also opposed Texas legislation requiring local law enforcement to determine individuals’ immigration status, according to The Texas Tribune. The legislation was viewed as targeting so-called “sanctuary cities.” Gonzalez, like many in law enforcement, said the approach would destroy trust and make their job protecting communities more difficult.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Biden’s pick in a statement Tuesday.

“Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is a strong choice for ICE Director,” Mayorkas said. “With a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Sheriff Gonzalez is well-suited to lead ICE as the agency advances our public safety and homeland security mission. I hope the Senate will swiftly confirm Sheriff Gonzalez to this critical position.”

ICE has long been missing a permanent director to lead the agency.

Gonzales would succeed Tae Johnson, who has been serving as acting ICE director since Jan. 13. He previously served as the agency’s deputy director.

ICE has not had a permanent director since 2017. The agency operated with five acting directors under the Trump administration. This comes as the Biden administration has faced challenges at the border, including a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S.

The announcement of Gonzalez’s nomination comes on the heels of another major announcement from DHS. Mayorkas also announced Tuesday that he has directed ICE and Customs and Border Protection to place new limits on civil immigration enforcement actions in or near courthouses.

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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