A watchdog report documented a childbirth at a Border Patrol station in California.
The mother gave birth in her pants “almost immediately” upon arriving, the report said.
The mother and newborn had to stay in the station overnight after their hospital discharge.
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A newborn baby slept on a bench overnight in a Border Patrol station with her mother, who had given birth into her pants at the station just days earlier, newly released images from the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general show.
The incident occurred at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station in San Isidro, California, and prompted an investigation into Border Patrol’s policies and procedures on childbirth among detainees.
The inspector general’s report found that Border Patrol provided “adequate medical assistance to the mother and her newborn and complied with applicable policies.”
The report noted that some instances of childbirth in detention were unavoidable. But it went on to say that US Customs and Border Protection, of which Border Patrol is a part, lacks data on pregnant detainees and often doesn’t move quickly enough to release newborns and their mothers.
The specific childbirth documented in the report occurred February 16, 2020, “almost immediately” after the mother was detained. The woman “partially delivered her baby into her pants while standing and holding onto the edge of a garbage can for support,” the report said.
The report added that agents took the woman and her newborn to the hospital, but returned them to the Border Patrol station after they were discharged two days later. The woman wasn’t released from custody until the afternoon of February 19, after she spent the night in the station and slept with the baby on a bench.
According to the report, she was detained the extra night because Border Patrol brought her back to the station around 6 p.m. after her hospital discharge. By then, it was too late in the evening to release her.
Though the Biden administration recently implemented a new policy to generally avoid detaining pregnant, postpartum, or nursing women, the new rules only apply to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not CBP.
CBP told Insider in a statement that the inspector general’s report had not found any “deficiencies” in how the mother and newborn were medically treated in Border Patrol custody.
“CBP takes its role providing care and ensuring the health, safety, security, and welfare of each adult and child in its custody very seriously,” the statement said. “Consistent with our continuous improvement efforts, CBP concurred with the OIG report’s four recommendations, and has provided correction plans to the OIG.”
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