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Updated: ICE rejects claims it separated breastfeeding mother from her child

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U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is rejecting claims it separated a breastfeeding migrant woman from her young child.

ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox said Monday the woman, Maria Domingo-Garcia, told officials she was not breastfeeding when asked during her initial medical screening which all detainees go though.

“All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility; that screening includes a woman being asked if she is breast feeding. During her initial medical screening, Ms. Domingo-Garcia answered no to that question,” Cox said in a statement to The Hill.

{mosads}Domingo-Garcia’s lawyers, however, told CNN their client had not been asked if she was breastfeeding, but said she responded “yes” when asked if she had a 4-month-old. 

The attorneys were not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill Monday evening.

“Pursuant to subsequent media reports that falsely alleged Ms. Domingo-Garcia was being detained despite being a nursing mother, an ICE Health Services Corps nurse practitioner conducted an additional medical examination of Ms. Domingo-Garcia, which verified today she is not lactating,” Cox said.

Domingo-Garcia was detained on Aug. 7. It is possible that if she had been breastfeeding at the time, she would no longer be lactating 12 days later, at the time of the nurse practitioner’s examination. 

She was among 680 immigrants detained earlier this month in ICE raids at Mississippi food processing plants, part of the Trump administration’s ongoing hardline push on immigration policy. 

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan has said the raids were done “with sensitivity.” He said about 30 people were released on site and more were released later for humanitarian reasons.

Domingo-Garcia’s lawyers, who said they visited her on Saturday, told CNN that she is depressed and in pain from being separated from her children and not being able to pump breast milk. 

They said she migrated from Guatemala and has lived in the U.S. for 11 years. 

—Updated at 6:40 p.m. Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information. 

Tags Breastfeeding ICE raids Immigration

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