Detention of Pregnant Immigrants
is discouraged by official policy, but the administration is detaining them anyway
Why It Matters
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) used to have limits on detaining pregnant immigrants that almost always required releasing them on bond or under supervision.
However, the Trump-Pence administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy aimed to prosecute every person crossing the border. Even though Trump walked back the aspect of “zero tolerance” that separated immigrant families, prosecution of immigrants at the Southern border is still a top priority.
Now, ICE has expanded power to detain pregnant immigrants — including those seeking asylum.
How We Got Here & Where We're Headed
- What to expect next
The administration’s immigration crackdown may continue to harm pregnant immigrants
Public charge rule goes into effect nationwide
Supreme Court rules that the administration can use its new “public charge” standard while lawsuits against it go forward
Supreme Court temporarily permits third-country rule, which denies most asylum claims at the Southern border
Trump administration announced a final "family detention" rule that would allow the administration to detain children indefinitely
Trump administration issues final “public charge” rule designed to stop immigrants from accessing public benefits to which they are legally entitled
Rule issued that makes immigrants ineligible for U.S. asylum if they passed through Mexico — denying asylum to nearly all South American immigrants
The Senate reintroduced a bill to stop the detention of pregnant immigrants
Increase in miscarriages among detainees spurs calls for an investigation
Trump announces a policy to severely restrict asylum for immigrants
Rule proposed to keep low-income immigrants from entering or staying in the U.S.
Proposed family detention rule to let U.S. jail immigrant children indefinitely
Jeff Sessions says immigrants fleeing domestic violence don’t qualify for asylum
U.S. sharply increases separation of immigrant families at the border
Administration says it plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census
Refugee office head says he interfered with undocumented women’s abortion access
Administration starts detaining pregnant immigrants during legal proceedings
ACLU sues ORR for blocking a detained undocumented woman’s access to abortion
The administration announces it’s ending DACA
“My soul aches that there are many pregnant women coming [to America] who could lose their babies like I did.”
The move to hold pregnant immigrants in custody during their immigration proceedings is having devastating effects on the detained women and their families.
The number of undocumented women who had miscarriages while in government detention nearly doubled across the Trump-Pence administration’s first two years. Earlier reports showed that the overall number of pregnant people in detention rose to 506 in the first four months after the policy took effect — nearly double what it was in the previous four months. Those harmful consequences are linked to a severe lack of prenatal care for undocumented immigrants in custody.
Background on Detaining Pregnant Immigrants
The new policy of proactively detaining pregnant immigrants went into effect in December 2017, but the administration didn’t officially announce the change until March 2018.Washington Post
Ten migrant women appear to have miscarried just prior to or during ICE custody between October 2016 and September 2017, and 18 migrant women may have miscarried while in ICE custody the following year, according to a review of medical records. Advocates say the sharp increase could be rooted in the Trump-Pence administration’s new policy of detaining pregnant women.Daily Beast
Shackling someone who is pregnant, especially in the second or third trimester, can cause issues with the pregnancy — including increased risk of blood clots and falling — and make it harder for medical professionals to provide care.Bustle
Pregnant detainees have reported ICE verbally abused them, didn’t provide medical care, and physically hurt them — including shackling them around the stomach.Buzzfeed News
Immigrant and human rights groups have filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security about ICE’s inadequate care and harm of pregnant detainees.San Antonio Current
In addition to not taking care of the pregnant immigrants in detention, the administration has tried to block young immigrant women in detention from their constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion.Tracking Trump: Scott Lloyd