A Guatemalan mom of a four-month-old was detained following a raid that resulted in the detainment of 680 undocumented migrants. Her family is not sure when she will return.
Maria Domingo-Garcia was detained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials when they conducted a raid at Koch Foods in Morton, Mississippi, where she worked in the factory. The raid took place on August 7. Therefore, it has been a total of 12 days since she was first detained. She is currently a nursing mother, with a four-month-old baby daughter waiting to be breastfed at home. At the time of detainment, ICE alleges that she claimed to not be breastfeeding. As per an examination conducted by a nurse almost two weeks after she was apprehended, it was confirmed that she was no longer lactating. However, it is possible that her body could have stopped producing milk by this time. Further deliberations between ICE and Domingo-Garcia are ongoing, CNN reports.
At present, the migrant mother is situated at a facility in Jena, Louisiana, which is almost 200 miles away from her home in Morton. She was one of the 680 undocumented immigrants who were detained during the raid on August 7, the largest ICE raid to take place in the history of the United States. While migrants in search of better futures are being unfairly detained for their honest work, little has been said about the wealthy business owners employing these so-called "illegal" immigrants.
Domingo-Garcia, in particular, migrated to the United States from Guatemala and has been a well-meaning citizen for the past 11 years. Despite this, she has been cruelly separated from her family and her four-month-old baby. In a video posted online, Domingo-Garcia's husband is seen desperately attempting to bottle-feed the crying baby. The couple has two other children together. Father Roberto Mena of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Forest, Mississippi, interpreting for the father, explained, "They go to the park and relax so they will not feel the absence of the mom. He has another boy who also goes to school, so every time he comes from school he asks, 'What is the situation of the mom?'"
Reportedly, Domingo-Garcia was asked if she was breastfeeding when she was first detained. To this, she responded that she was not. It must be noted, on the other hand, that she did mention she has a four-month-old child when discussing her case with her attorneys. Once news broke of her separation from her baby, a nurse practitioner conducted an examination which confirmed that she was not lactating. ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox shared, "All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility; that screening includes a woman being asked if she is breastfeeding. During her initial medical screening, Ms. Domingo-Garcia answered no to that question. Pursuant to subsequent media reports that falsely alleged Ms. Domingo-Garcia was being detained despite being a nursing mother, an ICE Health Services Corps nurse practitioner conducted an additional medical examination of Ms. Domingo-Garcia, which verified today she is not lactating." It is possible, nevertheless, that 12 days following her initial detainment, the mother could have stopped lactating altogether.
Though acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan has claimed that the raids were conducted “with sensitivity," it is evident that there is a complete disregard for human life on ICE's behalf. Domingo-Garcia's attorneys have responded to ICE's claims, arguing, "ICE is, once again, lying. She said nobody's asked her - not even one time - if she's been breastfeeding. Can you imagine having a 4-month-old baby and being ripped away from that baby, unsure of who is taking care of her? She's devastated." The mother's attorneys added that she was depressed and in great pain as she is not able to pump or breastfeed. "Every other word was 'My daughter,' and, 'She really needs me,'" the lawyers revealed. They continue to fight Domingo-Garcia's cruel detainment.