ICE: "We'll jail more pregnant women"

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Hill reports that the Trump administration will be overturning a previous policy that excused pregnant women from immigration detention.

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.

Miller said there are 35 pregnant women in ICE custody today, all of them now subject to mandatory detention, despite the fact that some of them may be pregnant because of rape and assault, Reuters reported.

With the change, outlined in a December 14 directive signed by acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, ICE will no longer presumptively release pregnant women from detention. "This does not mean that all pregnant aliens will be detained; only those whose detention is necessary to effectuate removal, as well as those deemed a flight risk or danger to the community".

Pregnant women I spoke with in ICE custody often didn't get appropriate nourishment, medical care, or prenatal vitamins.

ICE will also lean towards releasing pregnant women if they are in their third trimester, Miller said mainly because they would not be allowed to fly and thus couldn't be deported in that trimester, and will also make an effort for detention facilities to provide services to pregnant women and parents.




Since then, more than 500 women were taken into custody in the first three months of 2018. "We're aligning this policy, as all of our policies, with executive orders from the President".

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

Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission, one of the groups that filed a complaint a year ago against the detention of pregnant women, told the Huffington Post the administration can seek other alternatives, like mandatory check-ins or ankle bracelets. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General conducted surprise investigations of five detention facilities across the country, and found "significant issues" in four of those facilities, including poorly documented medical record keeping, dirty or insufficient hygienic supplies, and long waits to receive medical care for detainees suffering from painful conditions, like infected teeth and an injured knee.

Philip Miller, ICE deputy executive associate director, told reporters on Thursday that these pregnant immigrants will be detained on the grounds that ICE believes they could be a threat to the public.

"The insane thing about it is they're claiming it's because they should be treated like everyone else and that they're going to go after everybody who has immigration status issues, but the reality is that those aren't your only options", Brané said.

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