A new immigration policy has made it more difficult for jailed pregnant immigrants to be released from custody. Under the previous 2016 policy, special considerations had been given to pregnant women being held in prison awaiting hearings on charges of being in the United States illegally. Unless the woman had a serious criminal history or met other limited criteria for “extraordinary circumstances”, in most cases, she would be released. That policy now has been changed.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency under the direction of the Trump Administration will be reviewing each case individually and withdrawing blanket special consideration with respect to pregnancy. Undocumented pregnant women who are being held in detention centers now may need to give birth at these centers. While the previous policy started with the presumption that detention centers were not appropriate places for pregnant women, the new policy appears to favor detention in all but the most extraordinary circumstances.
Risk of Sub-Standard Medical Care for Pregnant Women
This heightened immigration enforcement policy has alarmed many women and immigrant advocacy groups including the Women’s Refugee Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union. These organizations highlight the poor quality of medical care, especially prenatal care, at many immigrant detention centers. Opponents of the policy change argue that the emphasis on detention and deportation will further endanger the lives of these pregnant immigrant women.
This change is one of many meant to dismantle the Obama Administration’s immigration policy. Previously, deportations were limited to convicted criminals, recent immigrants unlawfully entering at the borders, and immigrants who were considered public safety threats. Since the new administration began the process of removing deportation limits, there have been approximately 40 percent more deportation-related arrests in the country.
Since the new policy went into effect last December, over 500 pregnant women have been taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement. The U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has stated that it is highly likely that women in their third trimester will continue to be released from jail despite these policy changes.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Represent Immigrants in the Philadelphia Area
If you or a family member is an immigrant seeking legal assistance in the Philadelphia area, the multilingual Philadelphia immigration and naturalization lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are ready to assist you. Call Surin & Griffin, P.C. today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to arrange your initial consultation with a dedicated and knowledgeable Philadelphia immigration lawyer in our Center City offices.