“It was his life that I was bleeding out.”
This haunting statement comes from one pregnant migrant who was shackled and detained at an Arizona detention center in her second trimester. Despite requesting medical attention from detention center officials, the 23-year-old from El Salvador never received care, and miscarried. This story was reported by Buzzfeed.
A better life for her and her unborn child was why the she sought asylum in the U.S. in the first place. If she’d known what would happen, she said, she wouldn’t have attempted to cross the border.
Under the former administration, pregnant women were not detained except in extreme circumstances or in cases of expedited deportation. However, the current administration has quietly been detaining women not yet in their third trimester since December—a full five months before the zero-tolerance immigration policies took effect and raised national awareness of the family separation crisis at the border. The zero-tolerance policy has resulted in hundreds of detained pregnant women, most of whom are shackled around their midsections—as well as around their hands and feet—and denied medical care, while others endure physical abuse. The incidents range across detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the migrant women’s stories have been corroborated by legal aid workers, medical workers, and advocates.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE have evaded responding to direct inquiries about the pregnant migrants’ situation. ICE directives are supposed to protect women from being held into their third trimester and also ensure they receive appropriate medical care; however, evidence to the contrary is reaching migrant advocacy groups and outlets like the LA Times.
Even after miscarrying, women have reported lack of medical attention and dismissive behavior from detention center officials. Some have bled for days.
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(Written by Angela Timmons-Hanselka)