Detention of Pregnant Women FOIA Request

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), filed requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552. Requests were filed with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security.

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by ICE regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals in custody and any system used to track and monitor pregnant detainees. The request also asks for more detailed information, including the total number of pregnant detainees held in ICE custody, the total number of pregnant detainees who were deported from the United States directly from detention and the number of times that detainees were transferred to external medical facilities for medical care associated with the pregnancy.

These requests were filed in response to an ICE directive announced on March 29, 2018.  The new ICE policy, signed in December 2017 by acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, ends the presumption that pregnant women should be released from detention except in extraordinary circumstances.  The request follows an administrative complaint filed by the American Immigration Council and others in September 2017 with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) documenting the harmful and dangerous conditions that pregnant women face while in ICE custody.

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