By Miriam Raftery
July 10, 2021 (San Diego) – A Trump-era executive order that required detention of pregnant undocumented immigrants has been blamed for putting lives of women and babies at risk, with many women suffering miscarriages in detention centers. On July 1, Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a statement reversing that policy in nearly all situations.
The rule goes farther than the Obama administration policy that limited detention of pregnant migrants. The Biden administration directive also bans most detentions of nursing mothers and mothers with infants under one year of age, to allow bonding with newborns. Now, most women awaiting outcomes of immigration or asylum cases will be released.
An exception is provided, however, for anyone required under U.S. laws to be detained, such as foreign nationals convicted of terrorist acts or certain other serious crimes. In such cases, a pregnant or nursing woman detained would be required to receive adequate medical care. The new directive also prohibits restrains in most cases, including banning the shackling of pregnant women while in labor, an action that has drawn international outcry.