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Change in immigration policy to impact pregant women

A policy change finalized in December 2017 says that female immigrants held in Texas and elsewhere will not be released simply because they are pregnant. Congress was informed of the change in policy by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 29 before reporters were told of it later that day. Currently, those who attempt to cross the border illegally must be detained, but they can be released if they pass an asylum threshold test.

According to ICE, there were 35 pregnant women who were in custody as of March 20, and another 506 had been detained. Individuals who are in ICE custody face the prospect of being detained for a long period of time. The conditions that they experience while being held may not be ideal for pregnant women, and advocacy groups have questioned whether they have access to adequate medical services.

While pregnant women may not be granted release based on their physical condition, it is not a given that they will be held either. ICE says that they are less likely to detain those in their third trimester, and those who are less likely to be a flight risk could be let go as well. A representative from ICE claimed that the change in policy is simply meant to remind people that no one is exempt from immigration law.

Individuals who are in the United States without legal status may be subject to removal proceedings. However, it may be possible to ask for asylum or ask for proceedings to be suspended. An attorney may assist an immigrant in his or her effort to remain in the country. This may be done by pointing to the person's lack of a criminal record or the danger he or she may face back home.

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