Black, Pregnant, and DetainedLearn More
In 2020, ICE detained over 2,000 pregnant women, double the year prior. The RAICES Family Detention Services team found that approximately 80% of the pregnant women detained at Karnes family prison are Black. With this demographic shift, RAICES observed that ICE abandoned its previous policy against detaining pregnant women and infants under one year of age while neglecting to offer prenatal and postpartum care. Seeing the blatant racism and anti-Blackness in these actions, RAICES lawyers, with partners Cameroon American Council, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and UndocuBlack Network, filed a civil rights complaint sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March 2021 demanding an investigation into the inadequate medical care for Black pregnant women and infants in immigration prisons. You can read the complaint and learn more here.
Our complaint, unfortunately, has gone unanswered. So this Mother’s Day, RAICES launched a campaign in collaboration with artist Michelle Hartney and photographer Akilah Townsend to amplify the voices of the mothers who have experienced horrific conditions at the hands of ICE. By embroidering quotes from the testimonies of detained Black mothers on the garments detainees are forced to wear, Michelle illustrates their unspeakable trauma. Through her lens, Akilah captures the pain, perseverance, and resilience behind each testimony. And together, we can turn up the pressure on DHS and demand justice for these mothers.
We invite you to share these powerful and moving images and demand that United States Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas not only investigate these abusive institutions, but also go one step further by freeing mothers and children from detention.