The mainstream media were aghast on Saturday after Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested an illegal immigrant who was driving to the hospital with his pregnant wife to deliver their baby.
However, most outlets conveniently buried the story’s most important detail: the man was wanted for murder.
What’s the background?
ICE agents apprehended Joel Arrona-Lara last Wednesday at a gas station in San Bernardino, California, while on his way to the hospital. His wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas, was scheduled to deliver their child via caesarean section.
Gas station surveillance footage showed agents in two black SUVs pull up to the gas station and quickly apprehend Arrona-Lara. Agents left his wife at the gas station.
Unfortunately, Carmen Venegas had to drive herself to the hospital to deliver her child.
“I feel very bad right now,” she told KCBS-TV in Spanish.
She also alleged her husband had never been in trouble with the law, not even for a speeding ticket.
What did the media do?
In yet another instance of mainstream media bias against the Trump administration and ICE, many prominent news outlets framed the story in such a way that would leave casual readers believing ICE inhumanely detained an innocent man simply trying to welcome his child into the world.
Indeed, the story was widely shared as yet another example of the Trump administration’s brutal crackdown on illegal immigration.
Some popular headlines included:
- CBS News: “ICE detains man driving pregnant wife to hospital to deliver baby”
- Slate: “ICE Officers Arrest Man Who Was Driving Pregnant Wife to Hospital for C-Section”
- Washington Post: “ICE arrested a man driving his pregnant wife to give birth. She drove herself to the hospital”
- TIME Magazine: “ICE Agents Detained a Man Driving His Pregnant Wife to the Hospital”
Some stories included — albeit buried deep in the story — that ICE arrested Arrona-Lara on charges of murder out of Mexico while others ignored the key detail. Still, the headline framing was enough to incite social media outrage against ICE and the Trump administration.
What’s the truth?
ICE arrested Arrona-Lara in conjunction with Mexican authorities on homicide charges.
“Mr. Arrona-Lara was brought to ICE’s attention due to an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges,” an ICE spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
In a statement, ICE explained:
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.
However, an attorney with the San Bernardino Community Service Center who is representing Arrona-Lara said the homicide charges are “unconfirmed,” KCBS reported.