On Thursday, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy memo was shared with Lawmakers. The memo says that the Trump Administration will no longer automatically release pregnant illegal immigrants from detention.
Under the new policy, pregnant women will be released from immigration detention only on a case-by-case basis.
According to the memo, which was sent to Congress by Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, aside from providing necessary prenatal care and keeping records of pregnant women in custody, ICE will treat them as it would any other detained illegal immigrant.
The policy change is based off Homan’s Dec. 14 directive, “Identification and Monitoring of Pregnant Detainees.”
The directive supersedes Obama-era guidance. Homan also issued that “absent extraordinary circumstances or the requirement of mandatory detention, pregnant women will generally not be detained by ICE.”
Under the new policy, immigration authorities will no longer default to releasing pregnant illegal immigrants in custody.
The Obama administration instructed officers to assume a pregnant immigrant would be released, except in extreme circumstances.
CNN reported that an FAQ sheet sent with the policy memo emphasizes ICE is not going to detain all pregnant immigrants. The memo said, however, that those cases still require individual evaluation. ICE will maintain custody of “only those whose detention is necessary to effectuate removal, as well as those deemed a flight risk or danger to the community.”
The memo says that immigration authorities will lean toward releasing pregnant women if they are in their third trimester. The agency will continue to provide prenatal care to pregnant women in detention, as well as transfer those who need additional care to outside treatment facilities.
Administration officials said that the policy change stems from President Donald Trump’s executive order to expand detention of illegal immigrants. Philip Miller, a top official in ICE’s enforcement and removal operations division said that the policy supports the administration’s position that no category of illegal immigrants is exempt from enforcement.
According to CNN, Miller said, “To mischaracterize this as some kind of wholesale change or draconian change is inaccurate. We’re aligning this policy, as all of our policies, with executive orders from the president.”
Critics claim that ICE is not equipped to properly care for pregnant women in its custody and called for ankle-bracelet monitoring or mandatory check-ins in lieu of detention.
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Credit: Daily Caller