U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will end detentions of most pregnant, nursing, and postpartum undocumented immigrants, according to a new directive released on July 9, 2021. The policy is the most recent move by the Biden administration to soften Trump-era immigration detention policies.
Under the new policy, ICE officers generally will not arrest or detain individuals who are pregnant, nursing, or who gave birth within the last 12 months. The directive contains gender-neutral language to acknowledge the ability of transgender men to give birth.
In 2017, Trump reversed an Obama-era policy that called for detaining pregnant immigrants under extraordinary circumstances. When the former administration “ended the presumption of the release of all pregnant detainees,” ICE arrests involving undocumented pregnant immigrants more than 4,600 times between 2016 and 2018, according to a 2020 report by the Government Accountability Office.
However, pregnant and postpartum immigrants may still be detained by ICE if they are a national security concern or pose an imminent risk of violence or death. In such cases, the arrest and detention must first be approved by a field office director.
The new policy regarding pregnant women will not apply to migrants in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Border Patrol agents are often the first U.S. law enforcement officials to encounter and detain migrants crossing the border before they are transferred to ICE.
In the past year, President Bident has used executive orders to reverse several Trump-rea immigration policies, including increasing the cap for asylum petitions, easing visa and travel restrictions, and reprioritizing ICE-related actions.
If you or a loved one is interested in filing for asylum in Illinois, Arizona, or Texas, contact Gambacorta Law today at (847) 443-9303 to let our experienced legal team help you from start to finish. We have offices in Skokie, Mesa, and Houston.