FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sept. 11, 2017 CONTACT: Edward Sifuentes firstname.lastname@example.org 619-398-4497
ACLU: There Is No Reason to Keep Pregnant Woman at Immigration Detention Facility
ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties Issues Letter Requesting Maria Solis be Released from ICE Custody
SAN DIEGO – The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties sent a letter today to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking that a pregnant woman being detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Facility be released immediately. In apparent violation of ICE’s own policy, Maria Solis, a pregnant mother of three young children, has been in custody since Aug. 1, 2017, putting her at risk of miscarriage.
Ms. Solis poses no security or flight risks and is not subject to mandatory detention. However, her detention and treatment raise a number of grave concerns. Detention of expecting mothers creates obvious health risks and that is why Department of Homeland Security guidelines dictate that holding pregnant women in custody should be avoided unless warranted by extraordinary circumstances.
“The harsh conditions of immigration detention place unnecessary risks on the health of pregnant women,” said Bardis Vakili, Senior Staff Attorney of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “No law requires ICE to incarcerate Ms. Solis while she pursues lawful immigration status for which she is eligible and no justification has been provided for her detention in violation of ICE’s own policy. We urge the agency to release her back to her U.S. citizen husband, children, family members and community.”
Ms. Solis, a victim of domestic violence from a previous relationship, has a history of difficult pregnancies. During her two previous pregnancies, she needed to be on bed rest and all three of her children were born premature. While being detained at Otay Mesa, Ms. Solis has reported troubling incidents, such as inconsistent access to prenatal vitamins, fainting episodes, broken ultrasound machines in the medical facility, close exposure to cleaning chemicals, manual labor and harsh treatment by staff.
The ACLU demands that ICE release Ms. Solis from custody or provide a detailed explanation of what extraordinary circumstances apply in her case to warrant her detention.
A copy of the ACLU letter is available here.