ICE Will Now Detain Pregnant Women Because of President Trump's Executive Order

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office allowed ICE interviews of inmates despite sanctuary city policy

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.

The policy change directs officers to keep more pregnant women in custody while providing them with medical attention, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement directive finalized in December.

Christina Costantini, a journalist who has reported on immigration detention facilities, posted on social media about ICE's extreme lack of preparation for-and interest in-providing proper care for pregnant women.

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.

The new policy is explained in an internal email obtained by The Hill.

The changes, which will apply to pregnant women seeking asylum, bring ICE policy closer in line with an executive order signed by President Donald Trump a week after taking office a year ago.

"Generally, absent extraordinary circumstances, ICE will not detain a pregnant alien during the third trimester of pregnancy", ICE said in a statement. "Not detaining a pregnant woman doesn't mean she won't have to go through the immigration legal process". 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. "To miscategorize this as some wholesale change or some kind of draconian act is really just hyperbole", Miller said, according to the Huffington Post. "We're aligning this policy, as all of our policies, with executive orders from the President".

According to CNN, this change in detention policy "could pave the way for more pregnant women to be held in detention facilities while they await lengthy judicial proceedings about whether they can stay in the USA, facilities that are already decried by critics for tough conditions". Two women told HuffPost they lost pregnancies at ICE detention centers past year.

Miller downplayed the impact of the change, saying it was an attempt to make clear the administration's policy that no immigrants are exempt from enforcement.

Thursday's announcement prompted further backlash, and Philip Miller, the Deputy Executive Associate Director of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations, pushed back on the criticism. A Salvadoran rape survivor said she was held at Houston's Joe Corley Detention Center for six months after she found out she was pregnant and requested her release.

"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.

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