Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a memo on March 29th, detailing changes to its policy on detaining pregnant women, which would significantly expand the number in detention and put their health at risk.
“Accounts of the mistreatment of pregnant women in prison and detention facilities are already horrific. For the Trump administration to further lower the bar and subject more women to these health risks is disgusting,” stated Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “Reports of shackling, solitary confinement, and denial of adequate food or care for pregnant women already makes this one of the most pressing issues in our society. To further expand detention of pregnant women is nothing more than a shameful attempt to benefit wealthy private prison corporations while pandering to the anti-immigrant factions of Trump’s base at the expense of vulnerable pregnant immigrants.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva continued: “Instead of furthering policies that risk the health of pregnant women and their unborn children, ICE should retract this policy and comply fully with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of the health and safety of incarcerated women and their babies, both in prisons and Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities.”
In November 2017, Rep. Grijalva requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the alleged abuses that pregnant women faced in prison and detention centers including solitary confinement, shackling, and lack of women’s health services. The investigation is ongoing.