Eight-and-a-half-months pregnant and experiencing contractions, a Salvadoran woman who had crossed the Rio Grande and was apprehended by the Border Patrol was forced to go back to Mexico.
Agents took her to the hospital, where doctors gave her medication to stop the contractions. And then, according to the woman and her lawyer, she was almost immediately sent back to Mexico.
There, she joined the more than 38,000 people forced to wait across the border for immigration court hearings under a rapidly expanding Trump administration policy. And her plight highlights the health risks and perils presented by the “Remain in Mexico” program.
The woman was waiting Thursday with her 3-year-old daughter in a makeshift tent camp in Matamoros, Mexico, next to an international bridge, due to give birth any day, said her attorney, Jodi Goodwin.
“She’s concerned about having the baby in the street or having to have the baby in a shelter,” Goodwin said.
Pregnant women face special hazards in Mexico because places where migrants wait to enter the U.S. often don’t have access to regular meals, clean water, and medical care.
Many shelters at the Mexico border are at or above capacity already, and some families have been sleeping in tents or on blankets in the blistering summer heat. Reports have abounded of migrants being attacked or kidnapped in Mexican border cities, especially in Tamaulipas state across from South Texas, where the Salvadoran mother is waiting for a November court date.