SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — About 180 organizations nationwide, including medical professionals, migrant advocates and others, have signed a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection demanding it limit detention times for pregnant women, new mothers and those nursing babies.

“How many instances of cruelty and neglect do we need to convince CBP that the agency must urgently make changes to its current policies?” said Monika Langarica, staff attorney at UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy. “It is past the time for CBP to adopt a policy of consistently expediting the release of people who are pregnant, postpartum, and nursing. We keep ringing alarm bells, and CBP keeps choosing to look the other way, instead of adopting clear and obvious solutions.”

Advocacy groups, including Jewish Family Service in San Diego, claim they have learned of multiple instances of harm, including a January 2023 incident in which Border Patrol agents apprehended and transported a pregnant woman who was having contractions to a San Diego hospital, and then attempted to separate her from her school-aged daughter.

According to JFS, it took the intervention of the treating physician and the group’s own advocates to prevent the agents from returning the woman to the station and from separating her from her child.

“All people deserve safe and adequate reproductive health care, including those seeking their legal right to asylum in the U.S.,” said Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. “It’s time for CBP to stop perpetuating avoidable harm and heed the demands of medical professionals, advocacy organizations and the thousands of individuals who have called for change.”

JFS and the others provided the letter addressed to CBP acting commissioner Troy Miller.

Border Report reached out to CBP and Border Patrol in San Diego to see if it would be willing to comply with the requests in the letter, but our emails were not answered.