New ICE Policy Limits Detention Of Pregnant Women And New Mothers

By Lauren Gilger
Alisa Reznick/AZPM
Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 9:06am
Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 1:15pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (8.39 MB)

A new policy issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement limits the arrest or detainment of pregnant women and new mothers.

Pregnant women were usually exempt from ICE detention under former President Barack Obama. Donald Trump reversed that policy in 2017, and ICE detained more than 2,000 pregnant women the following year — according to a watchdog report.

Mayra Alvarado worked with some of them as a social worker with the legal aid group Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.

"Sometimes we may miss women who are pregnant or nursing just because of their fear of sharing information," Alvarado said. "Could be because of misinformation in there or just because they’re afraid of what might happen to their child."

The new directive expands upon the Obama-era restriction to include women who are nursing and postpartum.

The watchdog report found most pregnant women are first arrested by Customs and Border Protection. Though the new directive limits ICE detention, it does not do the same for CBP.

The Show spoke with Rocio Castañeda, advocacy attorney with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, to learn more about the situation.

More Stories From KJZZ

FronterasThe ShowImmigration Southwest Border