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Chula Vista

  • Review of the February 16, 2020 Childbirth at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station

    Executive Summary

    We found Border Patrol provided adequate medical assistance to the mother and her newborn, and complied with applicable policies. However, we found that Border Patrol’s data about pregnant detainees is limited and the agency lacks the necessary processes and guidance to reliably track childbirths that occur in custody. In addition, our review of a sample of childbirths in custody showed Border Patrol did not always take prompt action to expedite the release of U.S. citizen newborns, resulting in some being held in stations for multiple days and nights. Although some of these instances may have been unavoidable, Border Patrol needs reliable practices to expedite releases because holding U.S. citizen newborns at Border Patrol stations poses health, safety, and legal concerns. Lastly, we found that Border Patrol agents do not have guidelines on interpreting for Spanish-speaking detainees at hospitals. As a result, an agent assigned to hospital watch for the detainee provided interpretation that may not have comported with CBP’s language access guidance. We made four recommendations to improve CBP’s processes for tracking detainee childbirths, its practices for expediting release of U.S. citizen newborns, and its guidance to agents on providing interpretation for detainees. CBP concurred with all four recommendations

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