Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Concerns Grow Over Treatment of Immigrant Women in Detention

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 8:40 AM

  • (Geauga County Sheriff's Office)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - This week, members of Congress will continue their push for an investigation into the detention of pregnant women in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities.

Numerous reports of pregnant women miscarrying and being denied proper health care in ICE custody were made public last week. The grassroots organization MomsRising has been following anecdotal stories since last year, after hearing of one pregnant woman's treatment in a California detention center.

Nadia Hussain is director of maternal justice for the group.

"We do not think this is an isolated incident. In our research, we found that the lack of health care, lack of food for pregnant women, and other pregnant women miscarrying, there's a history of it," Hussain said. "The difference is now; during the Obama administration, there was a policy that pregnant women should not be detained."

Five facilities in Ohio serve as ICE detention centers. In March, the Trump administration announced it would no longer automatically release pregnant immigrants from detention, but the policy was actually implemented three months prior.

A federal directive regarding the change in policy states that ICE is responsible for "ensuring pregnant detainees receive appropriate medical care including effectuating transfers to facilities that are able to provide appropriate medical treatment."

But Hussain and others have heard reports that ICE is not abiding by the directive, denying medical care and shackling pregnant women, against the advice of medical professionals. Hussain describes the report from an immigrant at the California facility.

"She was not given proper food. She was not given rest. They kind of ignored the fact that she was pregnant," she said. "Detention itself is problematic, very much so, but especially detaining pregnant women who are already in a vulnerable position, health-wise."

On Friday, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, D-California, wrote a letter calling on the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General to investigate the detention of pregnant women in ICE facilities.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 29, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation