According to a new policy released on July 9, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will no longer detain most women who are pregnant, postpartum, or nursing. However, ICE did make clear that it is not a total ban, rather there will be “very limited circumstances” where the agency will be allowed to detain pregnant women.
ICE Director, Tae Johnson, upon announcing the new policy said that the change is a reflection of their “commitment to treat all individuals with respect and dignity while still enforcing our nation’s laws.”
This is a much-needed change moving forward which will ensure the safeguarding of pregnant women in detention, plus a protection of the health of their baby.
This is significant and positive, since in 2017 the Trump administration ended the presumption of release for pregnant women. This led to an increase by 52% of detained pregnant women by ICE in the two years following that change, going from 1,380 in 2016 to nearly 2,100 pregnant women in 2018.
This new policy goes even further than those from the Obama administration, which just generally exempted pregnant people from detention, by including women who are nursing and those who have given birth within the last year.
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