Migrant mother says border agents endangered her life while giving birth


SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Back in February, the Border Patrol sent word that agents had helped a woman deliver a baby while she was in their custody. Now, the public is getting a much different account of the events.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, a woman named Ana, felt “humiliated” when agents ignored her pleas for medical care.

According to the ACLU, Ana, her husband and their two children were arrested by Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border.

They were taken to the Chula Vista Border Patrol station in San Ysidro, Calif., where Ana, upon feeling pain, asked for but was denied medical attention.

She reportedly went into labor and began delivering the baby while standing up, using two trash cans for support.

“The level of care from Border Patrol Agents is unsuitable for pregnant women,” said Monika Langarica, attorney for the ACLU.

Langarica and the Jewish Family Service, an agency that shelters migrants and helps them with the asylum process, have filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.

They are asking that the Border Patrol change its policies when dealing with pregnant women. They want agents to immediately send the women to hospitals for medical evaluations and if possible, release them to relatives and/or agencies willing to help.

“This is a policy that we had in place not too long ago,” said Langarica.

According to Langarica, after giving birth, Ana was finally taken to a hospital, but two days later was back in custody and forced to stay in a cold room with her newborn daughter.

Four days after giving birth, Ana was taken to Jewish Family Service where she was finally able to take a shower according to Kate Clark, an executive with Jewish Family Service.

Ana and her family, who are from Guatemala, are reportedly with relatives somewhere in the United States.

The Border Patrol issued a statement where “it strongly disagrees with the unsubstantiated allegations,”

Below is the agency’s full statement:

“After reading over the April 8th administrative complaint from the ACLU and JFS of San Diego, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly disagrees with the unsubstantiated allegations against our agents. CBP treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any misconduct. We take all allegations seriously and investigate all formal complaints.  U.S. Border Patrol agents are expected to adhere to our policies and procedures, including those outlined in our National Standards on Transportation, Escort, Detention and Search.  The allegations do not equate to what we know to be common practice at our facilities.

According to internal records, the woman was undergoing a medical assessment as part of initial processing when medical professionals identified that she was in labor. They quickly mobilized to successfully deliver her baby. Emergency medical services arrived soon after to transport the mother and baby to a local hospital for further medical care. A Border Patrol agent accompanied them to the hospital, as all individuals in CBP custody remain our responsibility at all times. Based on this available information, CBP supports what appear to be nothing short of heroic actions of medical personnel and agents on scene and welcomes the response of DHS OIG.

The complaint alleges “extremely cold temperatures in Chula Vista Station. We refer you to the

National Standards on Transportation, Escort, Detention and Search, “Temperature Controls: When it is within CBP control, officers/agents should maintain hold room temperature within a reasonable and comfortable range for both detainees and officers/agents. Under no circumstances will officers/agents use temperature controls in a punitive manner.”

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