Vargas and CHC Call on DHS to Release More Info on the Detention and Treatment of Pregnant Immigrants
Congressman Juan Vargas (D-CA) late last week led his Congressional Hispanic Caucus colleagues in a letter, released on Monday, to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking for more information about the detention and treatment of pregnant immigrants by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On March 29th, Congress learned that DHS had ended the presumption of release for all pregnant detainees and stated that pregnant women will be released on a case-by-case basis. This policy was initially issued and went into effect on December 14, 2017. In the letter, the members express grave concerns over the health and treatment of pregnant women in ICE custody and the recent policy change to detain pregnant women. Media reports say that immigration authorities have detained at least 506 pregnant women since the change in policy. “This ICE policy shift is troubling and could have potential health implications for immigrant pregnant women in detention,” said Vargas. “It is egregious that the Department of Homeland Security did not notify Congress about this policy change. We expect a thorough and prompt response regarding the treatment of pregnant detainees.” See the full letter here.