A change in how ICE treats pregnant women in detention prompts inquiries by the ACLU
The ACLU, along with several other immigrant rights organizations, is seeking information on the treatment of pregnant detainees. Since December of 2017, in line with President Trump’s executive order on “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements”, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officially reversed its 2016 policy against detaining pregnant women. Oversight procedures of the detention system, including monitoring treatment and reporting abuse, were also loosened.
Beginning in 2016 under President Obama, ICE policy was supposed to be more humane to pregnant women arrested by federal agent, under the assumption that holding them in detention facilities could have health risks for mother and child and was otherwise unwelcome in an already crowded system. That said, it was not always followed accordingly, and even under President Obama pregnant women were detained. Many fell victim to lack of expedient emergency care, physical and verbal abuse, and several miscarried, and many believe the policy reversal has only made things worse.
Since the policy change, over 250 organizations, including medical and immigrants’ rights groups, have protested the decision, yet the Trump administration remains undeterred, setting the course for a harsher stance against immigrants across the board. Those concerned, which also include women’s rights and religious groups, fear this will lead to an increase of mistreatment. As a result, last week the ACLU teamed with several other organizations to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get ICE to provide all documents relating to pregnant women in detention.
We at Soberalski Immigration Law fully support the ACLU’s efforts to protect pregnant immigrants from cruel and unnecessary treatment.