Since March of last year, at least 11 migrant women were sent across the border to Mexico days after giving birth on U.S. soil without birth certificates for their U.S. citizen newborns, according to The Guardian.
The removals were revealed during an investigation by the Fuller Project and the Guardian.
Based on multiple conversations with lawyers who work with asylum seekers at the border and a review of hospital records and legal documents, multiple US citizen newborns were removed to Mexico after their mothers were subject to a Trump-era border ban that the Biden-Harris administration has been slow to rescind.
Advocates suspect the actual number of such cases could be higher because the vast majority of these fast-track “expulsions”, as the administration calls them, have occurred away from the public eye and without the involvement of lawyers.
Former president Donald Trump’s administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which resulted in more than 5,000 children being separated from parents, and the rise in prolonged detention of children were the most visible policies, but represented only the tip of the iceberg. Homeland security agencies also detained 4,600 pregnant women between 2016 and 2018, with the number increasing by 52% between those two years. Several detained women have also complained of miscarriages and intrusive medical procedures.
A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson told The Guardian the agency does not track how many women with U.S. citizen newborns have been subject to Title 42, “a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order issued during the beginning of the government’s federal actions against the Covid-19 pandemic last March” that “allows authorities to turn away people summarily.”
The spokesperson, who asked not to be named, added: “Hospitals are responsible for providing birth certificates and CBP does not hinder individuals, regardless of immigrations status, from acquiring birth certificates for US citizen children.”
The Guardian reported that these women were removed from the U.S. as quickly as two or three days after giving birth, with one woman being returned to Mexico the same week her child arrived via C-section — “an invasive procedure that takes weeks to heal.”
Image credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead / Public Domain