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  • Buzzfeed News indicated that the government agency might not be following the required measures to ensure the detained pregnant women

    Buzzfeed News indicated that the government agency might not be following the required measures to ensure the detained pregnant women's safety. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 July 2018

During the Obama administration, according to Buzzfeed News, pregnant women were not to be detained, except for extreme circumstances. 

Pregnant women in the United States Immigration detention centers have reportedly been miscarrying as they didn't get the attention they needed, according to a new report by Buzzfeed News. 

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"All three of the women who spoke to BuzzFeed News were pregnant when they presented themselves to Border Patrol officers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and requested asylum, as US law permits. Still, they said, they were shackled and placed in CBP facilities, where they were denied medical care during their first weeks in custody. All said they miscarried while in custody," Buzzfeed News revealed in its report. 

In interviews and written affidavits, some of the pregnant women under ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody reported that when they were obviously miscarrying, "the CBP and ICE-contracted jailers were unwilling or unable to respond to medical emergencies, and recounted an incident of physical abuse from CBP officers who knew they were dealing with a pregnant woman," the Buzzfeed report noted. 

During the Obama administration, according to Buzzfeed News, pregnant women were not to be detained, except for extreme circumstances or unusual cases of expedited deportation. But the current administration makes no such exception.

And the formal policy in ICE states that U.S. agency is responsible for "ensuring pregnant detainees receive appropriate medical care including effectuating transfers to facilities that are able to provide appropriate medical treatment." 

But, Buzzfeed News indicated that the government agency might not be following the required measures to ensure the detained pregnant women's safety. Virginia Sushila Schwerin, a midwife, and nurse who has worked for two years as a volunteer at a Circle of Health International's clinic near the border in McAllen, Texas, told the Buzzfeed News: "Pregnant women have highly specialized needs and this is a high-risk group. I think it’s inhumane to detain them."

"They’re coming in at risk from that, and then a lot of them develop illnesses in detention because they are coming from a very warm climate into an extremely cold place filled with people and circulated air," Schwerin said.


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