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A 27-year-old Guatemalan woman said she had no choice but to give birth while holding a trash can at a Southern California Border Patrol station. A Nicaraguan mother said staff members refused medical care to her 6-month-old son while he contracted respiratory illnesses that caused pneumonia.
These are two cases that the American Civil Liberties Union cited in a Letters to US Customs and Border Protection on Friday.
The organization – along with 136 additional advocacy groups and health professionals – has urged CBP to expedite admissions procedures for women and others who are pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding as well as children. new-born.
Shaw Drake, ACLU senior policy adviser on border and immigration issues, told NPR: “Given their reproductive health needs and possible acute medical conditions, they should drop priority for the minimum amount of time required for basic processing. . “And under no circumstances should it be more than 12 hours.”
People attempting to enter the United States who are detained at the border are usually only kept in CBP facilities for a short time while they are processed, have a place in the immigration court cases queue immigrated to the United States and was released. But Shaw said migrants can often be held in CBP detention facilities for more than three days.
Meanwhile, last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles immigration enforcement within the United States, revised its own policy. New principles calling on the agency to no longer detain, detain or detain people who are pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding, except in rare cases.
CBP declined to comment on the ACLU’s allegations, but told NPR it provides a range of services and support to people who are pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding in detention facilities. The agency said it practice including conducting welfare checks every 15 minutes, providing diaper changing stations and ensuring privacy for nursing mothers.
But some doctors say they are still concerned.
Allison Estrada, a San Diego physician who participated in the ACLU letter, said she often hears about not having access to showers, bathrooms, fresh food or safe places to provide care. wound for pregnant patients incarcerated. Centres.
Estrada told NPR: “When I think about the lack of basic needs for these women and young children during a very fragile time in their lives, detention is completely unsafe, ” Estrada told NPR.
Last year, 11 US senators, including Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, expressed similar concerns to the Department of Homeland Security and ask it to limit the time it spends detaining pregnant and postpartum people.
This spring, CBP commissioner Chris Magnus said in a letter to Blumenthal that the agency shares its desire and plans to address vulnerable groups “as quickly as possible.”
But months later, there hasn’t been a formal change in policy, according to the ACLU’s Drake.
The ACLU letter also asks the federal agency to release pregnant and postpartum people with their families after they are hospitalized and discharged from an outside hospital rather than transferring them back to a detention facility.