The U.S. government has exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to further eviscerate humanitarian and human rights protections for immigrants and people seeking asylum
along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This issue brief outlines evidence of the mistreatment of pregnant immigrants and people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border and in U.S. immigration detention, and discusses how existing policies have created the conditions for escalating human rights abuses during COVID-19. This issue brief supports public health guidance and human rights standards directing the release of all people in immigration detention during the pandemic, but focuses on a subset of reforms that are urgently needed to ensure the health and safety of pregnant asylum seekers and immigrants during and long after the pandemic.
Since March 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order to block and expel more than 109,000 migrants and people seeking asylum, including unaccompanied children. That CDC order has been indefinitely extended. Pregnant people are among the marginalized populations acutely affected by this order. Since the start of the pandemic, immigrant
rights organizations have documented harrowing accounts of pregnant people
who were mistreated in DHS custody, denied medical treatment while in labor, and forcibly expelled to unsafe locations in Mexico days after giving birth.
To read the full issue brief, please click here