The Academy and other medical groups are calling on federal immigration officials not to detain pregnant women.
Detention “puts the health of women and adolescents and their pregnancies at great risk,” groups said in a letter to the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“Pregnant immigrant women and adolescents should have access to high levels of care, care that is not available in these facilities,” the groups wrote. “The conditions in DHS (Department of Homeland Security) facilities are not appropriate for pregnant women or children.”
Under federal immigration policy since 2016, pregnant women are not detained except in extraordinary circumstances. However, ICE recently decided not to honor that policy and to determine detention on a case-by-case basis.
The Academy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Academy of Family Physicians signed a letter March 30 saying pregnant women in detention not only lack access to appropriate care, but also are vulnerable to sexual assault. In addition, the negative physical and mental impact of being detained can impact their child’s development.
“We urge ICE to reverse this decision, and instead focus on securing access to adequate, timely, evidence-based, and comprehensive medical care by medical providers trained to care for pregnant women and adolescents,” they wrote.
The Academy also is monitoring a Washington Post report that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to deny legal U.S. residency to immigrants who are using public benefits like Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
AAP leaders repeatedly have affirmed their dedication to the health of all children regardless of their immigration status.