Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced it was not going to be in the practice of detaining pregnant immigrants.
Now, under the current administration, it’s reversed course–with horrifying results.
“These are women like Sara, a 27-year-old Honduran woman, and Emma, who migrated to the United States from El Salvador with her 5-year-old son. Both were detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, one of the nation’s three family detention centers. After being raped, Sara fled Honduras with her 8-year-old daughter. After experiencing violence and receiving death threats in El Salvador, Emma was raped and tortured in Mexico while en route to the United States. Upon being taken into custody, both women informed immigration officials that they were pregnant, yet they remained detained by ICE. Sara was released after a week, while Emma and her child were detained for at least 20 days.”
The ACLU, which is suing ICE, has another chilling story:
“In July 2017, a 31-year old asylum seeker, Teresa,* was arrested and placed in immigration detention. She was four months pregnant. After her arrest, she began to experience severe pain and bleeding. Despite the emergency nature of her medical needs, she reports that her pleas for assistance were ignored. Instead, she was transferred from a Border Patrol holding facility to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in southern California. She miscarried there.”
As the High Holidays come to a close, it’s important to reflect on the ways that our society, with our complicity, continues to sin against the most vulnerable. For we, too, were strangers once.
ICE detentions have always been inhumane, but this treatment of pregnant women is beyond the pale of acceptability.