The US government will ease restrictions and prevent arrests of immigrants who have arrived illegally in the country and who are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding. The measure is in the new policy released by the Immigration and Customs Control Service (ICE, its acronym in English) on Friday (9).
President Joe Biden’s administration has come under heavy pressure to maintain the anti-immigration policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, such as sending chartered planes with deportees, maintaining overcrowded border detention centers and restriction of the number of refugees accepted into the country – on this last point, the Democrat backed down after criticism.
From now on, ICE officials will stop arresting migrants who have had children under one year old or who are still breastfeeding, except in specific cases – if the detained person is at imminent risk of violence or death or poses a threat to national security.
“This will be reflected in our commitment to treat all people with respect and dignity, while ensuring law enforcement,” agency director Tae D. Johnson said in a press release. “In the specific circumstances where detention is necessary and appropriate, the ICE will provide health and social assistance, including a medical assessment,” the agency said.
According to the New York Times, however, the measure does not apply to persons detained by the Department of Border Protection and Customs (CBP), the body under which detained immigrants crossing the border are held for a few days until. ‘until they are delivered. to ICE.
Since 2016, when Trump assumed the presidency of the United States and changed Barack Obama’s previous policy that undocumented aliens were only arrested in extraordinary cases, more than 4,000 pregnant immigrant women have been detained. , according to figures obtained by the American newspaper.
The number of pregnant women detained has recently declined, in part due to measures to reduce overcrowding in an effort to control the spread of Covid-19. Today, there are fewer than 20 pregnant immigrants in prison, who are held for an average of three days, according to the publication.
The new policy was seen as more progressive than that of the Obama administration, as the updated text uses neutral language – regardless of gender – when referring to pregnant women, indicating that transgender men who become pregnant will also benefit.
The migration crisis is the most serious in the Biden administration to date, with the largest influx of immigrants to the United States in two decades. Nearly 900,000 people were arrested at the border from October last year to May, mainly from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. But what has caught the attention of US officials are the high rates of people traveling from more distant countries, such as Brazil and Ecuador, who have had 32,000 citizens detained since October. Before the peak of 2019, the number of Brazilians attempting to enter the United States undocumented did not exceed 3,500 across the border.