Prompted by the recent revelation that as many as 28 women in the past two years have miscarried while in immigration detention, Senate Democrats are demanding additional details on pregnant detainees.
Sixteen senators, led by Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, issued an April 8 letter to the acting director and commissioner of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) calling for the reinstatement of an Obama-era policy that releases most pregnant women from immigration detention.
“In the absence of compelling evidence that the detention of a pregnant woman is necessary because she is a threat to herself or others, or is a threat to public safety or national security, the civil detention of an expectant mother for potential immigration offenses is never justified,” reads the letter.
On Feb. 22, a 24-year-old Honduran woman went into premature labor and delivered a stillborn baby at a detention center in Texas. After reports of that surfaced, ICE revealed that as many as 28 women over a two-year period have experienced miscarriages while in their custody.
The letter notes “multiple reports of pregnant women having been denied access to medical care or receiving inadequate medical care,” including “being ignored during their miscarriages by agents who refused to respond to the medical emergencies.”
According to ICE reports, a total of 2,701 pregnant women were booked into ICE custody between Dec. 14, 2017 and March 2, 2019.
The letter ends with a series of questions about the length of time these pregnant women are being detained and what type of maternal care, if any, they receive.
Sen. Jacky Rosen cosigned the letter.
Additionally, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) also cosigned.