In January 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ended its practice of releasing all pregnant immigration violators who were not subject to mandatory detention or extraordinary circumstances warranting detention.
That action was taken in order to better align ICE detention policies with President Trump’s January 2017 Executive Order, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” And it provoked outrage in all of the usual quarters:
- The Capital Area Immigrant’s Rights Coalition opined, “If our government values life, this is a poor way of showing it.”
- Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed that “with aggressive enforcement practices targeting immigrants, an expansion of the detention system, and the removal of various oversight mechanisms, pregnant women in ICE detention face more danger than ever before.”
Accordingly, when a detained illegal alien from Honduras recently went into premature labor and delivered a stillborn child, the open borders lobby, jumped at the opportunity to heap scorn on ICE and its sister agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (CBP arrests illegal aliens encountered on the Southern border and ICE detains them):
- NBC Newsquoted Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) who demanded “nothing less than a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding this tragic event, including the government’s actions.”
- And the Latino news website Remezcla bemoaned the fact that a stillbirth is not considered an in-custody death by ICE or CBP, implying that the agencies are trying to cover up a “track record of mistreating this vulnerable community” ( i.e., pregnant migrant women).
But here’s the thing: The government voluntarily released a joint ICE/CBP statement, giving full account of its actions. And it appears, that ICE and CBP employees did everything correctly:
- The illegal alien – who has not been named due to privacy concerns – was six months pregnant when apprehended by CBP.
- CBP immediately took her to a hospital for a medical screening.
- She was cleared by doctors and transferred to ICE custody.
- While in ICE custody, she received medical care from the ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC), which is staffed by clinical care providers from the U.S. Public Health Service.
- When she went into labor, IHSC personnel attended to her and called EMS personnel and transported her to a local hospital.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine that either agency could have done anything better. And any reasonable observer would suspect that premature labor was brought on by the stresses associated with a 2,500 mile walk from Honduras to the United States. The choices that migrants make sometimes have harsh consequences but that doesn’t mean that our immigration laws are cruel or inhumane.
However, that type of realistic assessment doesn’t fit the borderless world contingent’s narrative. They want everyone to believe that detaining a pregnant woman is a “human rights violation.” It isn’t. When pregnant women are convicted of crimes, we send them to prison. There is no reason why our immigration enforcement policies should be any different. Especially when so many illegal aliens abscond, failing to show up at Immigration Court hearings.
It’s always tragic when a woman loses a baby. But pregnant illegal aliens eventually give birth to children who gain birthright citizenship – and a host of rights and privileges that accompany it. We simply can’t afford to send the message to every female border-jumper and visa-overstayer that pregnancy is a “get-out-of-immigration-jail-free” card.