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ICE to Detain Pregnant Women After President Trump Axes Exemption Policy

ICE to Detain Pregnant Women After President Trump Axes Exemption Policy

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is ending a policy of presuming that a pregnant woman should be released from immigration custody. "This new ICE policy memo confirms our fears that the government is continuing its barbaric policy of detaining pregnant women despite substantial evidence that detention of this particularly vulnerable population has been linked to serious health implications to the mother and unborn child and also constitutes a significant barrier to receiving a meaningful day in court", Katie Shepherd, a legal advocate at the American Immigration Council, told The Daily Beast.

"The insane thing about it is they're claiming it's because they should be treated like everyone else and that they're going to go after everybody who has immigration status issues, but the reality is that those aren't your only options", Brané said.

A previous policy set up by ICE Director Thomas Homan stated: "absent extraordinary circumstances or the requirement of mandatory detention, pregnant women will generally not be detained by ICE".

Some pregnant immigrants can still be automatically released.

The new policy is explained in an internal email obtained by The Hill. "Instead, as with all detainees except those in cases of mandatory detention, ICE will complete a case-by-case custody determination taking any special factors into account".

"This new policy further exposes the cruelty of Trump's detention and deportation force by endangering the lives of pregnant immigrant women", Lopez said in a statement to Teen Vogue. Humans rights groups have argued that these kinds of policies infringe on free speech rights.




It's unclear how many women under the old policy set to be released would be held under the Trump administration.

She said it is impossible to know for sure whether the number of pregnant detainees will go up, but "it's pretty clear that the intent is to reduce the number of pregnant women who are released".

"We are no longer exempting anyone from being subject to the Immigration and Nationality Act", Philip Miller, deputy executive associate director for ICE removal operations, told reporters Thursday.

Groups have been critical of the treatment of immigrants in detention. The complaint alleged that ICE was failing to abide by its own policy against detaining pregnant women and that the women were not being given adequate care. Between October 2016 and September 2017, a total of 525 pregnant detainees were taken into ICE custody, the Los Angeles Times reported, with 33 still detained by late September.

The process for finalizing a deportation in the U.S. immigration courts can take years, and often the immigrants released from detention begin to build lives in USA communities, have families and in cases that they qualify for work permits, start jobs.

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