Pregnant Immigrants Are Detained Far More Than Officials Will Admit


Though the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency says pregnant women should rarely be held at detention facilities, Fusion has been keeping track of individuals who are being detained and far more of them are pregnant than ICE would like to admit.

Fusion reports that in 2013 at just the El Paso Processing Center, 40 pregnant women were held. This is new information adding to what they discovered during an investigation into El Paso last year, which revealed that 13 women had been held there over four months. One detainee was held while pregnant for five months. After filing a new Freedom of Information Act request, Fusion found, quite interestingly:

…that five pregnant women who were detained in the El Paso facility were released in the week following our initial inquiries into the presence of pregnant detainees.

Quick thinking guys! Fusion has heard from other readers who’ve said they’ve known other women to be detained at centers around the country, though when ICE was asked for those numbers, the agency denied they had them. Since then, ICE has backpedaled, saying they are “re-running the data request” to find that information.

Pregnant women in these facilities are typically subject to inadequate medical are. Reporter Christina Constantini previously reported that pregnant women held can still legally be shackled while giving birth, depending on the laws of the state they’re in. Though this is an debate that has been going on for years, since then, lawmakers have tried to make that practice illegal except in “extraordinary” circumstances.”

Why hold these women at all? Some experts believe that they’re part population of people who aren’t true threats to U.S. security but are being held because of quota requirements which that demand that 34,000 detainees be held in ICE centers at any given time. As good a reason to keep them around as any.

Image via Andrew Taylor/Shutterstock

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