Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been detaining an increasing number of pregnant women, a fact verified by their own record keeping. Overall detentions are up because of the Trump administration’s hardline stance against immigration to the United States. Several new executive orders have been issued that enable immigration officials to make more arrests of individuals who were not targeted in the past. While pregnant women were previously not detained except for in exceptional circumstances, a Trump directive from December 2017 instructs officials that they should detain anyone who is in the country without proper permissions – including pregnant women.
ICE records show that for the months of February to September in 2016, 353 pregnant women were detained. The number of pregnant women booked into ICE custody a year later from October 2017 to August 2018 was 1,655.
No One is Exempt
A statement from ICE defends its actions saying that their Enforcement and Removal Operations does not require that a foreign national have any criminal action or conviction to be arrested. “There is no category of alien exempt from immigration enforcement.”
Health Care for Pregnant Detainees
Pregnant women need regular check-ups to monitor both their health and the health of the baby they are carrying. Stress and inconsistent care can put the health of both mother and child at risk, especially if the pregnancy is a high-risk one. Women with preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure, sudden weight gain, headaches, changes in vision, and swelling may experience complications during pregnancy and birth. Fetal development may also be impacted. Every year, hypertensive conditions like preeclampsia are responsible for about 76,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 infant deaths around the world.
Although ICE has policies that say pregnant detainees will be supervised closely and given access to routine or specialized prenatal care, several pregnant women who were detained by ICE claim they experienced the opposite. Two of them had miscarriages while in detention and are part of a claim against the Department of Homeland Security and the detention centers it runs in Texas, California, Washington, and New Mexico.
Released Because of Social Media Campaign
One pregnant woman with preeclampsia was arrested and detained in January as she and her husband, who is an American citizen, were at an immigration interview for her to obtain legal status. From her interview location in Memphis she was taken to Mason, Tennessee and then two days later to a detention center in Jena, Louisiana. She had her medication with her but never saw a doctor during her four days in ICE detention centers. As soon as she was detained her lawyers made a social media post about her pregnancy and medical condition that went viral. Activists posted phone numbers for detention centers so that people could call on her behalf asking for her release. It is thought that this is the only reason why she was released so quickly. Others without lawyers to advocate for them are not so lucky as ICE is under no legal obligation to let them go.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Advocate for Those Applying for Citizenship
No matter what your immigration issue is, the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. can help you. We have the knowledge and skill to handle every type of immigration case from green cards to employment visas. Call 215-925-4435 to schedule a consultation about your case or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia we assist clients in and around the greater Philadelphia area including those in Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia County.