Immigration policies have gotten undeniably stricter under the current administration. From attempting to repeal the DACA program to implementing a zero-tolerance policy for immigrants entering the U.S. outside a port of entry, Trump’s approach to immigration has been frequently condemned as unnecessarily draconian. And on February 27th, The Arizona Republic reported that as many as 28 women in ICE custody have suffered miscarriages over the past two years.
ICE provided the information in a statement to the Republic, noting that there were 10 miscarriages in fiscal year 2017 and 18 in fiscal year 2018. The statement was based on medical records from August 31st, 2018. In total, 1,655 pregnant women were taken into ICE custody at some point from October 1st, 2017 to August 31st, 2018. On February 25th, just days before these figures were reported, several outlets, including NBC News, reported that a 24-year-old Honduran woman had suffered a stillbirth in an ICE detention center in Texas.
The number of pregnant detainees has increased significantly under the Trump administration. According to NPR, ICE guidelines under the Obama administration stipulated that pregnant people would generally not be detained unless they had significant criminal records or other extraordinary circumstances. In December 2017, however, the Trump administration changed this policy to evaluate each pregnant person individually (although the new policy claimed that those in their third trimester would not be held). NPR notes that from January to May 2017, only 292 pregnant women were detained, but from December 2017 to April 2018, the number increased to 506.
In an FAQ about the policy on its website, ICE states that “all detainees receive necessary and appropriate health services, food, and care. But a July 2o18 investigation from BuzzFeed News found that in some cases, pregnant immigrants in custody did not receive the care they needed. Some reported being shackled around the stomach while they were being transported, and others told BuzzFeed that they had undergone X-rays—which are not recommended for pregnant women.