ICE Will No Longer Automatically Release Pregnant Illegal Immigrants

ICE Will No Longer Automatically Release Pregnant Illegal Immigrants”

Some pregnant women were detained under the earlier guidance-about 500 in 2016-but ICE will now err on the side of holding them in detention facilities rather than releasing them, as President Donald Trump continues his efforts to detain more immigrants than previous administrations.

Miller said on Thursday the new directive was meant to align with a Trump executive order mandating tougher ICE enforcement.

Under the new policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers will treat pregnant detainees as they would any other, save for providing the necessary medical care and keeping a record of pregnant women in custody.

ICE will also lean towards releasing pregnant women if they are in their third trimester, Miller said mainly because they would not be allowed to fly and thus couldn't be deported in that trimester, and will also make an effort for detention facilities to provide services to pregnant women and parents. Based on the email ICE will process pregnant women on a "case-by-case custody determination taking any special factors into account".

The policy change is based off Homan's December 14 directive, "Identification and Monitoring of Pregnant Detainees".

HuffPost noted Thursday that several prominent immigrant and refugee advocacy groups and the ACLU complained late past year that ICE wasn't following its own policy - nor independent medical standards - for pregnant women.

An FAQ sheet sent with the policy memo emphasizes ICE is not going to detain all pregnant immigrants, CNN reported. A coalition of civil rights, pro-immigrant and women's groups have also raised concerns about medical services for pregnant immigrants and a number of miscarriages in custody.

Michelle Brane, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program with the Women's Refugee Commission, criticized the move and said many women entering the United States are pregnant due to rape.

"The Women's Refugee Commission has long documented the unsafe and unhealthy detention conditions that are especially risky and inappropriate for pregnant women", Brané said in a statement. They said that ICE offered inadequate care and that the detention harmed women who had been raped or had high-risk pregnancies.

"Again, ICE's policymaking tells us all we need to know about the administration's immigration-related goals - inflicting the maximum possible harm on already vulnerable individuals and communities, all in service of an explicitly anti-immigrant agenda", Mary Meg McCarthy, the center's executive director, said in a statement.

ICE is not equipped to properly care for pregnant women in its custody and called for ankle-bracelet monitoring or mandatory check-ins in lieu of detention, critics said.

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