Saturday, May 18, 2024

Immigrant Women Face Poor Conditions in Jail

In a new report released by the Arizona-based Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW); Arizona reportedly has 300 immigrant women who are incarcerated.

Problems that negatively impact the welfare of female immigrants are discussed in Unseen Prisoners: A Report on Women in Immigration Detention Facilities in Arizona, including serious issues that affect many Latinas who are in immigration detention.

With regards to inadequate medical care, a woman was detained while six months pregnant while she had a potentially dangerous ovarian cyst, and lacked prenatal vitamins or extra padding for her bed. Also,many immigrant women detainees are mixed with people actually serving criminal sentences, women that who are potentially dangerous. The majority of women interviewed in this report were separated from at least one U.S. citizen child. In addition,  a majority of the women serving time in Arizona prisons have been transferred from out of state.

Many immigration detainees are in administrative court proceeding rather than criminal court proceeding. However, women in immigration confinement are treated like criminals, including limited access to recreation, a complete absence of activities, a small provision of food, and a routine use of strip searches and shackling during transport.

The report offers recommendations for Congress, Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about how they can improve the treatment of immigrant women in detention.

· Congress: Pass legislation to require DHS to establish legally enforceable procedures for the timely and effective delivery of medical care to immigration detainees.

· DHS: Provide enforceable regulations to guarantee women appropriate gynecological and obstetrical care.

· ICE: Halt or strictly limit the practice of detaining nursing mothers and pregnant women to cases in which no alternative arrangements exist.

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