Senate

Democrats question ICE standards for detaining pregnant women

Greg Nash

Several Senate Democrats are questioning what standards Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) use when determining whether to detain pregnant women in a letter to ICE chief Thomas Homan.

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) sent a letter to Homan on Thursday requesting the agency not hold pregnant women in custody except under “extraordinary” circumstances.

The letter follows a decision from ICE last month to treat pregnant women suspected of being undocumented immigrants the same as any other detainees.

{mosads}”In light of reports that ICE has failed to provide critical medical care to pregnant women in immigration detention — resulting in miscarriages and other negative health outcomes — this policy change is particularly alarming,” the letter reads. 

“This new policy jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of an exceptionally vulnerable group of people — many of whom are fleeing sexual and physical violence, or experience it as they travel to the United States,” they wrote.

In the letter, the senators take particular issue with ICE’s removal of language directing agents to provide pregnant detainees with timely medical care.

The decision “eliminates specific policies that help ensure pregnant women in immigration detention are timely and properly identified and provided with appropriate care,” the senators wrote.

ICE Deputy Executive Associate Director Philip Miller explained in an internal email to agents this month that ICE currently has 35 pregnant women in “mandatory detention.”

“In terms of risks to the community, we look at criminal history. Just as there are men who commit violent acts, heinous acts, so too have we had women in custody who have been convicted of committing heinous, violent acts,” said Miller in the email.

Tags Catherine Cortez Masto Catherine Cortez Masto Cory Booker Cory Booker Dick Durbin Dick Durbin Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren ICE Immigration Kamala Harris Kamala Harris Trump administration

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video