UPDATED 5:57 PM PT – Friday, July 9, 2021
The Biden administration issued a new policy barring Immigration and Customs Enforcement from detaining pregnant, postpartum or nursing mothers. This policy only applies to ICE and not U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which means they could still be apprehended at the border prior to their release by ICE.
In a notice sent to Congress on Friday, the Oval Office directed ICE to release women who were going to or had recently given birth. The acting ICE director commended the move, asserting that the “unique needs” of the migrant population crossing the border provided reason for the policy.
“We will not detain individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum, or nursing unless release is prohibited by law or exceptional circumstances exist,” said Acting ICE Director. Read more here: https://t.co/TMNO3HG4tt pic.twitter.com/AgKmpLy1rh
— ICE (@ICEgov) July 9, 2021
“This reflects our commitment to treat all individuals with respect and dignity while still enforcing our nation’s laws,” stated ICE Director Tae Johnson.
Reports said that between 2016 and 2018, ICE detained more than 4,500 pregnant migrants. Officials said this figure has nearly doubled in 2020 and 2021.