07.12.21

Senator Patty Murray And Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia Issue Joint Statement In Response To President Biden’s Decision To Stop Detaining Pregnant, Nursing, Postpartum Migrant Women At The Border

In June, Garcia and Murray led 27 of their House and 18 of their Senate Democratic colleagues in re-introducing the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act

 

Washington D.C.  Today, Senator Patty Murray, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s decision to stop detaining pregnant, nursing, and postpartum migrant women at the border.

 

“The previous administration’s detention of pregnant and postpartum migrant women was a heartless and dangerous policy that put the health of mothers and infants at risk. I’m very grateful that the Biden Administration is putting an end to this immoral practice, but it is critical that these protections are permanent. That’s why we need to pass my Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act—to ensure that the health and safety of women and children in DHS’ care won’t be threatened by any future administration,” said Senator Murray.

 “I applaud President Biden’s decision to stop the detention of pregnant, nursing, and postpartum migrant women by ICE. The previous administration’s decision to engage in these abhorrent practices was part of a larger anti-refugee, anti-immigrant campaign of cruelty that we are glad to see come to an end. But while today’s decision by the Biden administration is commendable and welcomed, it is limited and can unfortunately be easily reversed by any future administration,” Said Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29). “This is why recently; Senator Murray and I reintroduced the bicameral Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act. As a Member of Congress, I have a responsibility to ensure that we do everything in our power to protect those who seek refuge in the United States from cruelty and mistreatment. We need permanent protections that apply to all border law enforcement agencies, not just ICE, to protect pregnant women at every step of the way. That is why I call on Congress to take swift action and make this decision into law and codify protections for present and future migrant people.”

 

BACKGROUND

On June 17, 2021, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29 D) led 27 of their House and 18 of their Senate Democratic colleagues in introducing the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act.

 

The legislation will protect the health and safety of pregnant people in immigration detention by reinstituting their presumption of release, prohibiting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from shackling pregnant women in its custody, and setting new standards of care and transparency for the treatment of pregnant women and youth.

 

The members reintroduced this legislation following reports from 2019 of mistreatment of pregnant women in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, including a report of a women in ICE custody whose pregnancy ended in a stillbirth after she went into labor prematurely.

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