Sunday, July 21, 2024

ICE to end detention of undocumented pregnant women at the border

The U.S. immigration authorities will no longer detain migrants facing deportation if they are pregnant or recently gave birth, reversing a Trump-era immigration policy.

The new directive announced that it doesn’t stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from initiating proceedings to deport women who are pregnant, nursing or have given birth within the past year. However, they generally would no longer be detained pending the outcome of their cases except under “exceptional circumstances.”

According to immigrant and women’s advocacy groups, the practice of detaining pregnant migrants is a threat to maternal and fetal health. This change is part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to roll back Trump-era enforcement measures and return to policies resembling those in place under President Obama.

ICE recently adopted draft guidelines to focus apprehensions on undocumented people in the U.S. who recently entered the country, pose a national security threat, or have committed serious crimes. While these efforts have angered immigration opponents, according to data gathered by the Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the number of people in immigration custody has risen sharply in recent months.

There are more than 27,000 people in ICE custody, up from less than 14,000 at the end of March. Following the announcement, advocates praised the change but said it doesn’t go far enough.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the government to stop detaining anyone who might be at risk in detention. Eunice Cho, a senior staff attorney with the organization stated, “This action by the Biden administration is a welcome step in the right direction.”