The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Immigration Council (Council), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS), the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of women who are or were pregnant and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The complaint’s findings include reports by currently and formerly detained women that illustrate ICE’s failure to implement its own policy limiting the detention of pregnant women; inhumane detention conditions; and inadequate medical care.
Recent media reports indicate that immigration arrests of women generally rose by 35 percent in the first four months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, and that there were 292 pregnant women detained by ICE in that same time. These numbers are significant considering an August 2016 ICE policy prohibits the detention of pregnant women except in cases where the mandatory detention statute applies or in “extraordinary circumstances.”
The complaint urges DHS to “conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into the cases” and to “investigate and report on the steps that ICE has taken to implement and oversee its policies.”