Miscarriages of women in ICE custody nearly double following Trump administration policy change
Immigrants rights advocates warned that the Trump administration’s 2017 policy change allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain more pregnant women would have devastating consequences. They’re being proven tragically right: “10 migrant women appear to have experienced a miscarriage either just prior to or during ICE custody between October 2016 and September 2017. As of Aug. 31, 2018, the same review found that 18 migrant women may have experienced a miscarriage while in ICE custody during the following year—nearly twice as many.”
The report comes following a woman going into premature labor and delivering a stillborn baby while in ICE custody two weeks ago. The 24-year-old, who has not been named but has since been released from custody, was initially detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and then taken to a hospital, where she reportedly cleared two medical screenings. She was then taken into ICE custody, to be later released when she began to complain of abdominal pain.
But it’s not just pregnant women at risk. Infants as young as 5 months old are reportedly being detained with their mothers in a migrant family jail in rural Texas. Some of the babies detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center, their advocates say, have become sick and are losing weight. These vulnerable groups do not belong in detention. “Detention in and of itself can be quite traumatizing and stressful,” Dr. Alan Shapiro told the Daily Beast, “and anything that triggers stress hormones can lead to negative outcomes in pregnancy for herself and for the fetus.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which has called for an investigation into the woman’s detention, is continuing to demand an end to the practice of detaining pregnant women. “These tragedies make one thing very clear,” said Chair Joaquin Castro. “ICE and CBP should not be detaining expectant mothers in poor conditions, and the practice of detaining these women is inhumane and inconsistent with our values as Americans. We must examine the circumstances of the unfortunate and disturbing loss of this mother’s child.”