December 4, 2022

Unimaginable abuse of pregnant immigrant women was just uncovered at Trump’s ICE facilities

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Hidden behind the more outrageous excesses of the Trump administration’s brutal dehumanization and persecution campaign against undocumented immigrants are untold petty tyrannies and abuses by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and the Border Patrol that often go unreported or are poorly covered by the media.


But just because they’re lost in the incessant swirl of the 24-hour news media cycle and the competing voices of ten thousand other injustices doesn’t mean the pain and suffering of the victims is any less real.

On Monday morning, Buzzfeed revealed that at least five immigrant women detained in ICE’s concentration camps have miscarried their babies while in custody and that their captors stood by and did nothing help them.

In December, the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era directive to not detain pregnant women except in “extreme circumstances” and replaced it with new orders which allowed for the detention of pregnant women up until their third trimesters and that they receive adequate medical care.

Of course, like almost everything in the Trump administration, the reality on the ground is almost unrecognizable from what official documents purport it to be.

Multiple immigrant women, whose accounts have been confirmed by aid workers, have alleged that women in ICE and the Border Patrol’s custody are “often denied adequate medical care, even when in dire need of it, are shackled around the stomach while being transported between facilities, and have been physically and psychologically mistreated,” including “an incident of physical abuse from CBP officers who knew they were dealing with a pregnant woman.”

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When Rubia Mabel Morales Alfaro was caught by the thugs in the Border Patrol, they “threw [her] around.” When she told them she was pregnant, they refused to believe her:  “They said it wasn’t important, that it wasn’t their problem.”

Even though shackling is prohibited by both ICE directive and by Congressional order, a nurse who works with detained women in Texas says that the women she sees are “almost always” shackled around their hands and feet, and often around their bellies.

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Detained women must often wait days or weeks before seeing a health professional and are often ignored and neglected, even if they are bleeding profusely after a miscarriage. “They were refusing to give me sanitary towels, I needed like 30 per day and we were given three per day. They told me I could buy more in the commissary” recounted Jennye Mariel Pagoada Lopez.

“There are so many horror stories of medical neglect that I’ve heard inside [detention centers] that I can’t even remotely fathom a scenario where a pregnant woman would be better off in detention than being released,” reported a grim Luis Guerra, legal advocate for immigrants, to Buzzfeed News. 

This latest report makes it clear that not only are ICE, the BPD, and their CoreCivic concentration camp contractors deliberately abusing their charges in an inhumane manner, but they are also openly ignoring the laws laid down by Congress and the orders sent from their superiors, who are also lying openly to the public about what goes on in these centers.

It should be obvious to everyone at this point that the sadists who operate America’s detention and deportation machine are incapable of seeing the people they are detaining as people and refuse to treat them as such, which is why abolishing ICE and prosecuting the executives of CoreCivic must be a central part of the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform.

Original reporting by Ema O’Connor and Nidhi Prakash @ Buzzfeed News.

Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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