The Trump government has revoked an Obama-era policy that has generally called for immigration officials to release pregnant women from federal custody, US officials said Thursday.
Immigration organizations immediately condemned the policy change as an example of human rights violations under President Trump, but it remained unclear how many pregnant women could be imprisoned for deportation.
Under the Obama administration, some pregnant women were also subjected to coercive detention if they committed certain crimes or arrived illegally and were subject to a rapid expulsion process called accelerated removal.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said the new policy follows Trump's executive order, which ordered her to take legal action against anyone in the US last year. His order overruled President Barack Obama's orders to arrest and deport mainly criminals and those who had recently crossed the border.
However, officials warned that the new directive does not mean that all pregnant women are being detained. The cases are treated individually according to the risk of air travel, the state of health and the endangerment of the population. Immigration officials generally do not arrest women in the third trimester.
"We are ending the alleged release of all pregnant inmates," said Philip Miller, deputy deputy director of the ICE. "We no longer free anyone from being subject to the law."
Politics came into effect in December, and Miller said he did not know if there was an increase in pregnant prisoners.
Since then, ICE has kept 506 pregnant women in custody, but most are no longer detained. Miller said he did not know if they had been released or deported.
Since March 20, about 35 pregnant women were in custody and were subject to legal detention.
Immigrant advocates quickly rejected the new policy. Few months after the American Civil Rights Union, the Women's Refugee Commission and others filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security on the treatment of pregnant inmates. They said that ICE provided inadequate care and detained women who had been raped or had a high risk pregnancy. Some were missing
The National Immigrant Justice Center, a non-profit organization that campaigns for immigrants' rights, described the new policy as "little more than a blanket extended detention for all immigrants."
"ICE policy also tells us everything we need to know about the government's immigration-related goals ̵
Adult ICE detainees will continue to have access to abortion services in federal custody, according to agency files.
Most pregnant women are illegally detained after crossing the border, Miller said, but some have committed crimes.
The new policy opens a new chapter in the President's attempt to prevent illegal immigration, one of his main themes in the election campaign. Trump aggressively withdrew Obama's protection for undocumented immigrants .
He has phased out this work permit for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, including Liberians, this week. Immigration arrests have risen by more than 40 percent and deportations have risen by 34 percent in Trump's first nine months in office.
Federal officials have also separated parents from their children after illegally crossing the border and passing new rules before hearing a judge's hearing