EAH Immigration Blog

ICE Detains Pregnant Women

ICE has changed its policies regarding the handling of pregnant women in detention, breaking from the previous practice of automatically releasing them. Under a new directive, immigration officers will no longer default to trying to release pregnant women in ICE custody. Instead, the policy requires a case-by-case evaluation, and ICE will keep in custody “only those whose detention is necessary to effectuate removal, as well as those deemed a flight risk or danger to the community.” Since December 2017, when the policy went into effect, 506 pregnant women have been detained in ICE custody. For those in custody, ICE has committed itself to providing services and acceptable standards of care, but women in their third trimester are unlikely to be detained because they would not be able to fly and therefore could not be deported anyway. The justification for the policy change is to continue to implement the Trump Administration’s message that no one who violates U.S. immigration laws will be free from enforcement.

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