New U.K. law could make it illegal to hold pregnant women in immigration detainment

A pregnant Syrian migrant woman walks on train tracks on the Macedonian-Greek border. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Kingdom’s House of Lords approved a measure yesterday that would make it illegal to keep pregnant women in immigration detainment centres in the country. While current guidelines say pregnant women could only be held in “exceptional circumstances”, a report last year found that at Yarl’s Wood — one of the U.K.’s most controversial and scandal-plagued centres — some 99 pregnant women had been detained. Activists from Women for Refugee Women, who had been advocating for this measure as a part of their Set Her Free campaign, said they were delighted to see the vote in favor of totally ending detention of pregnant women. The bill still needs to pass the U.K. Parliament’s House of Commons before it becomes the law of the land.

In the U.S., the current Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy is also that expecting mothers should only be detained in extraordinary circumstances, but a review by Fusion of ICE statistics found that at least 559 pregnant women were held between 2012 and 2014, in just six detainment facilities.

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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