ICE Paves Way To Detain More Pregnant Immigrants

Apr 01, 2018, 00:11
ICE Paves Way To Detain More Pregnant Immigrants

The Hill reports that the Trump administration will be overturning a previous policy that excused pregnant women from immigration detention. Philip Miller, a deputy executive associate director for ICE, told Reuters that 506 pregnant women have been detained by ICE since the new directive was first implemented back in December.

"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.

"This new policy further exposes the cruelty of Trump's detention and deportation force by endangering the lives of pregnant immigrant women", said Victoria Lopez, senior staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The new social media policy will affect almost 15 million potential immigrants, CNN reported, including those seeking legal permanent residency. "ICE detention facilities will continue to provide onsite prenatal care and education, as well as remote access to specialists for pregnant women who remain in custody".

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This means that more pregnant women will be detained and only released on a case-by-case basis.

The change in policy was sent by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to Congress on Thursday morning and later announced in a conference call with reporters.

US officials said it was unclear how many women would be affected by the new policy. Between October 2016 and September 2017, a total of 525 pregnant detainees were taken into ICE custody, the Los Angeles Times reported, with 33 still detained by late September.

"To better align with the President's Executive Order, ICE has ended the presumption of release for all pregnant detainees", ICE spokesperson Danielle Bennet told TPM in an email.

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Under the new policy, ICE will detain "only those whose detention is necessary to effectuate removal, as well as those deemed a flight risk or danger to the community", according to a fact sheet obtained by HuffPost.

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

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

Calling it an "attack on women and children", Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at Women's Refugee Commission, said the organization "condems" the move. "Many women are pregnant as a result of rape and violence that they experienced either on the journey to the US or that may be part of an asylum claim".

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Through its spokesperson, Danielle Bennet, ICE informed the media that the agency "will complete a case-by-case custody determination taking any special factors into account".

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