*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Pregnant and Undocumented

On October 17th, 2017, the Washington Post reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over its alleged denial of an abortion to a 17-year-old Central American immigrant. The immigrant, known only as Jane Doe, was in ICE custody at the time that this case was filed. Here, our experienced immigration lawyer in Los Angeles discusses what happened in this case and explains why the immigrant’s rights were violated.

Detained and Unable to Leave

The young woman in this case was being held at an immigration facility in Texas. Under Texas law, a minor must obtain either parental consent or a judicial waiver to be able to get an elective abortion. The young immigrant, Jane Doe, was able to obtain judicial consent for the abortion, as is required by Texas state law. However, officials from the Trump Administration refused to let her leave the federal immigration facility to actually get the abortion. They also refused to provide an abortion at the facility itself. In effect, this administration sought to deny her the right to have an abortion at all. Instead, immigration officials took her to a crisis pregnancy center to undergo counseling to encourage her to continue the pregnancy.

ACLU Lawsuit: A Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Immigrant Rights

The ACLU took this case to federal court on behalf of the immigrant. After hearing the issues, a federal judge ruled that the Trump Administration was violating the rights of this undocumented teenager. Indeed, in her decision, the judge noted that she was “astounded” by the Trump Administration’s unlawful conduct. While happy with the decision, immigrant rights advocates were also extremely frustrated that the Trump Administration took this unlawful action in the first place. This case involved a truly shocking breach of immigrant rights. According to reporting from National Public Radio, Jane Doe was able to exercise her right to have an abortion. Soon after, she penned a letter to the public in which she thanked the ACLU and her attorneys for supporting her right to make her own decision.

Undocumented Immigrant Rights and Abortion

Undocumented immigrants who have been detained and put in ICE custody have a right to receive adequate medical care. Under United States law, the chance to have an abortion is included within that right. In fact, the abortion rights that apply to American citizens also apply to undocumented immigrants, even if they are currently being detained by ICE. If a federal immigration officer is blocking an immigrant from having an abortion, then that immigration agent is violating her legal rights.

We Support Immigrant Rights in California

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are strong advocates for immigrant rights. If your rights have been violated in any way, we can help. Please call us now at (213) 262-2000 or email us through our website for your confidential case evaluation. Our office is located in the heart of Los Angeles, and we serve clients all around Southern California, including in Inglewood, Burbank and Pasadena.

Josh Goldstein
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