The startling revelations of the administration’s senseless attacks on families continue this week with reports that over nine infants under one year old are being kept at the Dilley detention center in Texas without the appropriate resources or care; that a woman gave birth to a stillborn baby while in ICE custody in Texas; and a new report documenting 28 miscarriages while, or immediately prior to, women being held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “These new reports are appalling and should make everyone’s blood boil. Detention centers are not appropriate places for infants, children, or pregnant women. These facilities are not equipped with the right personnel and cannot provide a safe and healthy environment for young children and pregnant women to thrive.
“ICE agents are not nurses, doctors, or child care providers – they are officers of Trump’s deportation force. The consequence? Lost pregnancies, lost lives, and children suffering physical harm, psychological trauma, and lasting health complications. This is child abuse – it is inhumane and cruel, and Secretary Nielsen must be held accountable. No matter our politics or differences, at a minimum we should all be able to agree that children, families, and pregnant women should not be held in detention. Period.”
Below, we review the latest tragedies:
At least nine infants under one year of age are being detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas, according to a complaint filed Thursday by the American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Catholic Immigration Network. One of the infants has been detained for over 20 days.
…Keyla, the mother of one of the infants being held at the detention center, told attorneys that her 9-month-old son has been experiencing diarrhea, eye discharge, a cough, and congestion. She was not allowed to keep his pacifier, which has only added to his distress. Another mother, Yari, requested formula for her 5-month-old child but had to wait over 24 hours to receive it.
…“A detention center is no place for a child, especially infants who have special needs,” Dr. Katherine Ratzan Peeler, a member of Physicians for Human Rights’ Asylum Network who medically examines asylum seekers at detention centers for their cases, told ThinkProgress. “The women and children that I have seen, sometimes do see a specialist or a doctor, but it seems like it’s just for an initial screening. There’s a lot of talk about long wait times, which I suspect has something to do with the facilities understaffed.”
ICE officials told The Arizona Republic in a statement that 28 women may have experienced a miscarriage just prior to or while in ICE custody over the past two fiscal years. Ten of the miscarriages occurred in fiscal year 2017, and 18 occurred in fiscal year 2018, according to a manual review of medical records as of Aug. 31, 2018, the statement said.
…From Oct. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2018, a total of 1,655 pregnant women were booked into ICE custody, the statement said. As of Aug. 31, there were 60 pregnant detainees in ICE custody, the statement said.
A 24-year-old Honduran woman in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement went into premature labor and delivered a stillborn baby at an immigration detention center in Texas, according to ICE and Customs and Border Protection officials.
The stillbirth comes after three people, including two children, died while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection since December.
The woman reported she was six months pregnant when she was apprehended by the Border Patrol shortly before midnight on Feb. 18 near Hidalgo, Texas, ICE and CBP officials said in a joint statement released Monday.
…That evening, while being processed for release, the woman complained of abdominal pain, the statement said. She was examined by ICE Health Service Corps. The clinical director ordered that the woman be sent to the hospital. EMTs were also called.
The woman conveyed that the baby was coming and went into premature labor. She delivered an unresponsive male infant at 27 weeks pregnant, the statement said.
ICE Health Service Corps began CPR. EMS transported the woman and the infant to the Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas, where the infant was later pronounced dead.