Trump administration to hold more pregnant women in ICE detention

Provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

02 April, 2018

Shepherd filed a joint complaint on behalf of the council and five other civil rights groups in September challenging ICE's treatment of pregnant women in detention.

The announcement, made in a memo written by Homan last December but not revealed until Thursday, was condemned by immigrant rights advocates. His administration is so dedicated to changing the way the US handles immigration that it plans to require immigrants applying to come to the country to submit five years' worth of social media history, it announced on Thursday, according to CNN.

The changes, which will apply to pregnant women seeking asylum, bring ICE policy closer in line with an executive order signed by President Donald Trump a week after taking office past year.

Christina Costantini, a journalist who has reported on immigration detention facilities, posted on social media about ICE's extreme lack of preparation for-and interest in-providing proper care for pregnant women.

"Generally", she said, "absent extraordinary circumstances, ICE will not detain a pregnant alien during the third trimester of pregnancy".

This new approach is now more in tune with President Trump's executive order to enforce immigration laws. "We're aligning this policy, as all of our policies, with executive orders from the President".

ICE's detention facilities are notorious for offering poor health services to detainees.

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ICE included Dr. Ada Rivera, the director of medical services for the agency, on the call to explain the services that will be provided for women in custody. One hundred seventy-nine people have died in ICE detention since 2003.

The FAQ also pointed out that detention facilities would "continue to provide onsite prenatal care and education, as well as remote access to specialists for pregnant women who remain in custody". Detainees also said officers punished them with solitary confinement after they asked for medical attention.

The new ICE policy - which ends "the presumption of release" - reverses the agency's previous position from August 2016 to release pregnant women unless their detention was mandatory or when "extraordinary circumstances" warranted detention.

According to CNN, this change in detention policy "could pave the way for more pregnant women to be held in detention facilities while they await lengthy judicial proceedings about whether they can stay in the United States, facilities that are already decried by critics for tough conditions".

"Being in detention is not an appropriate setting for not just a pregnant woman, but a pregnant woman who may or may not be pregnant as a result of a significant trauma like that", she said.

The Huffington Post reported past year that two women had suffered miscarriages while in immigration detention facilities.

There are now 35 pregnant women in custody, according to Miller. "I was eagerly awaiting the birth of my baby, and I didn't know why God had done that to me", Pagoda told Vice News.

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