ICE: Trump's Immigration Policy Means We'll Jail More Pregnant Women

Provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has changed its policy regarding pregnant women and will now only release them at the determination of an immigration agent, according to internal memos obtained by the Daily Beast. She said all women of child-bearing age are tested for pregnancy at the beginning of their detention and ICE provides onsite care and education in addition to off-site access to specialized medical care.

In July of 2017, KUOW.org shared the story of Jacinta Morales, a pregnant immigrant who suffered an abortion and whose medical care aggravated her circumstance, a case that "raised questions about ICE's policy concerning pregnant and nursing mothers".

This will imply, in Bennet's words, that "pregnant aliens would be detained if their detention is necessary to effectuate removal or if they are deemed a flight risk or danger to the community".

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.

The policy overturned former President Barack Obama's orders to ICE to mainly detain and deport criminals and those who had recently crossed the border, the Post said.

But after Trump issued an executive order in January 2017 that required immigration officers to target all undocumented immigrants, the agency chose to change the way it dealt with pregnant women. ICE will now keep most pregnant women in detention, including those seeking asylum. In practice, ICE detained more than 500 pregnant women in 2016, the last full year the policy was in effect.

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. But even under that policy, pregnant women were still sometimes held in detention for weeks or months, a trend that immigrant advocates have said increased after Trump was elected.

The Deputy Executive Associate Director of IC Philip Miller told reporters most women in their third trimester will be left alone.

She was one of ten women whose experiences were documented in a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Office of the Inspector General in September previous year, describing poor medical treatment for women who were detained while pregnant or had recently suffered miscarriages. Since December, 506 pregnant women have been detained, Miller added.

In the face of possible accusations of "abuse of human rights", and as reported by Think Progress, an ICE official shared an appending of FAQ claiming that "the agency exercises its civil detention authority consistent with the law, and all detainees receive necessary and appropriate health services, food, and care".

The policy brought complaints from numerous immigrant rights groups.

Groups have been critical of the treatment of immigrants in detention.

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