U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on March 29 in a directive that it will no longer automatically release detained illegal immigrant women who are pregnant. This overturns an Obama administration directive that allowed pregnant women who were found to be illegally residing in the country to be released expect for when “extraordinary circumstances” were found to be present. Now, absent the requirements of mandatory detention, ICE will complete a case-by-case custody determination taking any special factors into account. In a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security, ICE said that this change falls in line with Trump’s executive order that directed federal officials to fully carry out all immigration laws and curb immigration rates. To learn more about ICE and your rights, please click here.
ICE stated that its detention facilities will provide on-site prenatal care and education, as well as remote access to specialists for the pregnant women who remain in custody. Since December 14, 2017, 506 pregnant women have come into custody and, as of March 20, ICE had 35 pregnant women in custody. There are records of women giving birth while in detention and, in some cases, having miscarriages. The Trump administration has pushed ICE to expand the use of detention for immigrants subject to deportation, in an effort to cut down on the number of immigrants allowed to live in the U.S. as they await court proceedings. The process for finalizing a deportation in the immigration courts can take years. This is especially harrowing as the Supreme Court ruled recently that immigrants do not have the right to periodic bond hearings and can be detained indefinitely.
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