Wherever you stand on abortion, these latest ICE plans are hard to understand.
President Joe Biden isn’t doing much to stem the record numbers of illegal immigrants pouring into America across the southern border.
If, however, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement happens to take a pregnant woman into custody and that woman wants to kill her child, the administration will go out of its way to make sure she can.
According to a report Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, immigration officials have instructed detention centers that pregnant women are entitled to abortions, and if the state they’re detained in prohibits them, they’re to be transferred to another center where the procedure can be performed.
According to the report, the undated memo was sent from ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson to Corey Price, head of ICE’s enforcement division.
“This memorandum serves as a reminder of existing ICE policies and standards requiring that pregnant individuals detained in ICE immigration custody have access to full reproductive health care,” the memo read.
“This is also a reminder that, pursuant to existing ICE policy, it may be necessary to transfer a detained pregnant individual within an area of responsibility (AOR) or to another AOR, when appropriate and practicable, in order to ensure such access,” Johnson wrote, according to the report.
“An official familiar with the memo said it would likely be sent later this week, and would represent the first law enforcement agency to reinforce reproductive rights in federal custody. ICE detains immigrants in the country unlawfully on civil immigration violations, many of them in the course of their asylum applications,” the Journal reported.
In the three weeks since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 16 states have banned abortion and three more will be banning it imminently, according to a tally by The Washington Post.
In several of those states, the ban has been blocked by court order. However, perhaps most critically, abortion is now illegal in two of the states with the longest land borders with Mexico: Arizona and Texas.
However, as the Washington Examiner pointed out, it isn’t exactly “clear how many women are in ICE detention at present or the extent that Johnson’s memo will be relevant, especially given the Biden administration’s instruction in 2021 that ICE officers avoid arresting and detaining illegal immigrants who are pregnant.”
“Regardless of a person’s legal status, a child born in the United States is a U.S. citizen, a factor that could impact a woman’s decision to seek an abortion,” it said.
However, the Journal reported, ICE helps obtain abortions for those in custody in the usual triad of exceptional cases — rape, incest or life of the mother — as per the agency’s health guidelines.
“In the event continued detention is necessary and appropriate, and consistent with the practice of our federal partners, if the life of the mother would be endangered by carrying a fetus to term, or in the case of rape or incest, ICE will assume the costs associated with a female detainee’s decision to terminate a pregnancy,” ICE guidelines from 2016 state.
Given that ICE’s established guidelines only allow medical providers to abort an unborn child in those specific instances, the memo represents a considerable expansion of the circumstances under which it will allow abortion to take place.
Furthermore, according to data from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, three of the five states with the most detained immigrants — Texas, Louisiana and Arizona — all have bans on abortion on the books post-Dobbs.
Whether or not this is merely performative virtue-signaling on the part of the Biden administration, the fact remains that time and effort were spent on this policy as the border crisis — what America’s immigration enforcement apparatus ought to be focused on — continues to spiral out of control.
In May, Customs and Border Protection encounters with illegal immigrants hit a new record of 239,416 — one month after the previous record was smashed with 235,478 encounters in April, according to Fox News.
This, mind you, was with Title 42 public health protections still in place — protections the Biden administration wanted to remove until it was rebuffed by a federal judge.
Once Title 42 — a World War II-era health code that allows for individuals to be deported summarily without an asylum hearing in times of transmissible disease, in this case, COVID — goes away for good, those numbers are set to explode.
Did the crafting of this memo distract from fighting the border crisis? No — but it’s demonstrative of where the administration’s priorities are. Nary a concern is given to the ticking time bomb at the southern border.
But if a pregnant woman enters the United States and is taken into custody in a state that — quelle horreur! — doesn’t allow her to legally kill her unborn child, Biden’s ICE will jump-to in order to make sure that child can be aborted. And it’ll all be done on your taxpayer dime.