ICE Don't Care If You're Driving Your Pregnant Wife To The Hospital, Will Detain You Anyway
Once upon a time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers at least claimed to focus their efforts entirely on immigrants involved in criminal activity. Those days are long gone, and now they're going after anyone, including law-abiding people who are just trying to drive their pregnant wives to the hospital to give birth.
Father-to-be Joseph Arrona was driving his wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas to a scheduled C-section at a hospital, and stopped for gas along the way. For whatever reason, as soon as they parked, they were surrounded by SUVs full of ICE agents. The officers asked the couple to produce ID, Venegas complied and was allowed to go, but Arrona said he had left his at home, but would be willing to go get it. Rather than allow that, the ICE officials just went ahead and apprehended him. Venegas then had to drive herself to the hospital and give birth all alone.
They couldn't have waited? Like, if it was that important to them to arrest and detain this one random guy who wasn't bothering anyone, couldn't they just have just escorted the couple to the hospital so that Venegas didn't have to do this alone? What kind of a person does that?
ICE released the following statement, explaining why they felt this was a completely reasonable thing to do:
"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 Immigration Review (EOIR).
"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."
By "classes or categories" they mean "people who haven't actually done anything wrong" -- which runs contrary to their previous policy of only going after, well, people who had actually done something wrong. Your tax dollars at work, America!
Even if you're the kind of person who thinks "It doesn't matter what he was doing, if he's here illegally he should be apprehended immediately, no exceptions!" -- you have to understand that he also very well could have just been a guy who forgot his ID at home, or lost it. You have to understand that there is something inherently frightening about people being asked to produce their papers and thrown in jail if they fail to do so. Not that those people will, of course, because they, too, are monsters. In fact, they probably get off on this shit.
UPDATE: ICE is now suddenly claiming that Arrono is wanted for murder in Mexico -- a thing you'd think they would have mentioned yesterday when they were going on and on about how they don't care whether or not an immigrant has actually done something illegal. Even more curiously, Arrono's lawyer is denying that the charges exist, and that the Mexican consulate knows nothing about them -- which sure would be a weird thing to do if they did, indeed, exist.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse