Report: ICE will no longer detain or arrest most pregnant migrant women

News

Immigrant Maricelda Mejilla, 6, hugs her pregnant mother, Meregilda, as they wait inside the central bus station after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Immigration and Customs Enforcement will no longer detain most migrant women who are pregnant, postpartum, or nursing, following changes adopted by the Biden administration, the New York Times reported Friday.

Under the new policy, a change meant to ease immigration detention under policies put in place by the Trump administration, ICE officials generally will not detain or arrest people who are pregnant or nursing, or who had a baby within the previous year. That’s according to a draft of the plan shared with The New York Times and a person familiar with the policy.

Additionally, the Times reports, the policy’s language is gender-neutral, “acknowledging that transgender men can give birth.”

Unlike during the Obama administration, which called for detaining them only under extraordinary circumstances, the number of pregnant immigrants in detention rose sharply under Trump.

The Times reported Friday that since 2016, ICE has arrested undocumented pregnant immigrants more than 4,000 times. Due to the pandemic, currently, fewer than 20 such immigrants are in ICE custody.

However, the number of migrants being held by ICE is at the highest levels since March 2020, according to new data released Thursday.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a non-partisan research organization at Syracuse University, reports that as of Thursday, 27,217 people were in custody at ICE detention centers, and there’s been a significant bump in the past two weeks.

The new TRAC data also found that 79% or 21,667 of the 27,217 being held in ICE detention facilities have no criminal record, and the majority have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.

To read the New York Times article, click here.

Border Report correspondent Sandra Sanchez contributed to this report.

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