According to a complaint filed by the ACLU of San Diego and Jewish Family Service, a newborn US citizen was sent to Mexico, and the newborn’s family was allegedly mistreated. The complaint urges U.S. Customs and Border Protection to excuse pregnant people from fast-track deportation procedures, such as the Migrant Protection Protocols.
The complaint centers around a couple who fled Honduras approximately a year ago with their 9-year-old son. When they arrived at the border in March 2020 near Eagle Pass Texas, the mother was around five months pregnant. The family requested asylum when they arrived at the border.
The family said they were afraid to return to Mexico, but Border Patrol agents didn’t schedule a non-refoulement interview. These interviews are part of a Trump administration program, the Migrant Protection Protocols, which requires those seeking asylum to stay in Mexico while awaiting their US hearings. Non-refoulement interviews are supposed to be conducted when asylum-seekers express fear of being sent to Mexico. Instead, the family was given paperwork by the agents that indicated they would be interviewed on March 25, and then they were sent back to Mexico.
The family tried to return on March 25 for their hearing, which had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were harassed and detained by a group of armed men who tried to extort the family. Fearing for their safety in Mexico, the family again tried to seek refuge in the United States on June 27. When the family returned in June, the mother’s pregnancy was almost full-term. She began to experience acute pain and was taken alone to a nearby hospital. Her son and partner were taken to a border patrol office and sent back to Mexico from there.
Two days after she had given birth, the mother and infant were taken to the border, where she was instructed to walk back to Mexico. The family has reunited, but the mother and infant, a US citizen, have not been able to obtain follow-up medical care.
Immigrating to the United States is a complex process. Rules, regulations and protocols are subject to change. Families who are dealing with immigration issues can turn to an experienced immigration attorney for advice and legal representation.