ICE: Pregnant Women No Longer Automatically Released

The Trump administration will no longer seek to automatically release pregnant immigrants from detention - a move in line with the overall efforts by the administration to hold far more immigrants in custody than its predecessors.

Based on internal documents reviewed by the publication, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers will treat pregnant women they detain the same as all others.

Others may be subject to mandatory detention because they committed certain crimes within the U.S. He said that on March 20, the last date for which ICE has the data, there were 35 pregnant women in detention, all of them subject to mandatory detention. Obama's administration ordered in an August 2016 memo that, "absent extraordinary circumstances or the requirement of mandatory detention", pregnant women would generally be released from ICE custody.

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The "Identification and Monitoring of Pregnant Detainees" directive points out that "generally, absent extraordinary circumstances" the agency would not detain pregnant immigrants during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnant immigrants will still be eligible for release on a case-by-case basis, according to an FAQ published on ICE's website.

Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission, one of the groups that filed a complaint past year against the detention of pregnant women, told the Huffington Post the administration can seek other alternatives, like mandatory check-ins or ankle bracelets. "There used to be a presumption that detention was not a good place for pregnant women".

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Several human rights organizations filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security in September on behalf of pregnant women detained by ICE. "This does not mean that all pregnant aliens will be detained; only those whose detention is necessary to effectuate removal, as well as those deemed a flight risk or danger to the community". Report after report from immigrants' rights watchdog groups have been critical of ICE's ability to provide health care to detainees.

"The Women's Refugee Commission has long documented the risky and unhealthy detention conditions that are especially unsafe and inappropriate for pregnant women", Brané said in a statement. But even under that policy, pregnant women were still sometimes held in detention for weeks or months, a trend that immigrant advocates have said increased after Trump was elected. The policy was first finalized in December, officials said.

The Huffington Post reported previous year that two women had suffered miscarriages while in immigration detention facilities.

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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 allowed to live in the U.S. as they await court proceedings.

  • Ryan Wade