Baby Taken Away From Breastfeeding Mom at U.S. Immigration Detention Center

Any mother will tell you how difficult it is to separate from her new baby.A new zero-tolerance policy implemented by the Trump administration has a new mother grieving as her infant was allegedly taken away by authorities while breastfeeding at an immigration detention center.

There are few bonds more sacred than that of a mother and her infant. Any mother will tell you how difficult it is to separate from her new baby, whether it be returning to work or running to the grocery store. This mother-child bond extends to all cultures.

According to CNN News, federal authorities took an infant out of the arms of her undocumented Honduran mother while she was breastfeeding at a Texas detention center. When the unnamed woman became understandably upset she was handcuffed by the immigration officers, reports her lawyer Natalia Cornelio.

Related: The International Rescue Committee Provides Pregnancy & Birth Support to Refugees in the US

The new-zero tolerance policy separates children from their parents who are caught crossing into the United States illegally. In the past, border patrol agents have made attempts to keep families together by placing them in the same detention center. However, children are now being sent to group shelters, placed in foster care, or sent to live with other family members in the United States while their parents face prosecution.

Once a parent is in custody, the child is taken into the Health and Human Services (HHS) system.

“If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you, as required by law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a press conference in May. “So, if you’re going to come to this country, come here legally. Don’t come here illegally.”

Approximately 500 children have been separated from their families since the policy introduction in May. Miguel A. Nogueras, an assistant federal public defender for the Southern District of Texas in McAllen, reports that some arrested parents are told that their children are being taken to be bathed or cleaned up, but they never see them again.

Related: Croatian ‘Lighten the Load’ Campaign Funds Slings for Refugee Babies

The ramifications of taking a child from their parent are devastating. Many breastfeeding babies have no experience taking milk from a bottle. Therefore, when taken from their mother, they experience difficulty feeding. Further, breastfeeding mothers face engorgement when they are unable to feed their babies. This process can be incredibly painful and can also put the mother at risk for mastitis.

If not reunited within a short timeframe, their milk supply diminishes, and they lose the ability to breastfeed their infants further.

Many migrants seeking safety in the United States do not have access to the resources to understand the ramifications of their decisions to try to enter the country with their children. As a result, they are facing unfathomable heartbreak as their family is torn apart unexpectedly.


10 thoughts on “Baby Taken Away From Breastfeeding Mom at U.S. Immigration Detention Center”

  1. Unconscionable! Shame on anyone takes a breastfeeding baby from its mothers arms. We need to have people with heart dealing with mothers and their children, not people who don’t understand the importance of the maternal-infant bond, the primal period, and how we treat our children at the beginning of life. That’s when we learn fear and alienation or love and trust. Tearing babies from their mothers’ breasts is NOT a loving act and will affect that baby for the rest of its life. Have those who call themselves Americans sunk to doing such heinous acts? Is that the kind of humans we want to be? Please FIX THIS! Breastfeeding mothers are not criminals. They come to our border because they are running from something they fear in their own countries. Why are we treating them poorly when they get here? Are we that cruel and depraved?

    1. I completely agree with you Marilyn! I was SOOOOO angry when I read this. I want to know what we can do abt this?

      And to the others saying it’s breaking the law, there’s a kinder way to respond to mothers and children when the law is broken. We can still be human!!!! Where is your heart?!!

      Shame on EVERYONE who agrees this parent/child separation is ok! SHAME ON YOU!!!

  2. Shame on this Mom for breaking the law! Look what her actions have done to her child. If can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Breastfeeding moms can be criminals too. Just because you have tit that’s dripping milk does not mean you can’t break the law and be punished for it.

    1. The real argument that needs to be voiced is why are we separating juveniles from their families? What could possibly be the justification. Is it simply to punish the parent(s) who attempted to cross the border or is it happening under the guise of a perceived security risk.What is actually happening to these children. The foster system in this country is gravely lacking qualified placement homes for our juvenile citizens, it simply can’t make room for illegals or asylum seekers. Are we employing adequate care takers to mind these children? Who is affording that cost? What is the cost of the internment centers? How many more will we need? Who do you think pays for these facilities?
      As for the conservative leaners, empathy is a human trait we all should possess and actively engage in. Irregardless the language, country of birth or skin tone, this article is speaking on behalf of the grieving families who are living this tortured existence. It may comfort YOU to think of these people as chattel, as law breakers and as a drain on our economy. It may embolden you and your bigoted rabble-rousing type to proudly march beneath 45’s flag of intolerance, self importance and greed chanting M.A.G.A! Today you feel vindicated, mighty, accepted -you feel as though your rights are being celebrated, honored and set first at the table of capitalism. Just as swiftly as you have sold your soul, your freedoms and rights are being sold out beneath your feet. How quickly you will become the chattel. How effortless will be the betrayal by the ones you felt had championed your entitlement. If we are capable as a nation to treat human kind this way, what security to foolishly hold that ensures you your not next in line? How far of a stretch would it be to find some minuscule shortcoming in your family’s lineage some small proof that you yourself are less-than the ideal American. Fascism does not occur swiftly over the night, rather it becomes the status with a series of light footed and shadowed steps. Cease thinking of these atrocities in the light of us vs. them and simply think of yourselves as the ones who are living this reality today. Under no circumstances should a young child be separated from their mother or parents simply for attempting to cross a boarder. Forget the legalities or the politics and see it for what it is, a humanitarian crisis that is even more shameful than the Japanese internment camps. What true right do we have to separate these families, to deny a nursing infant her mother? They have been stopped, detained and will be sent back from where they came. Why add the cruelly imposed theft of children. Children who are kept caged, rehomed to strangers, gifted to human traffickers or simply lost. The lack of empathy for these people astounds me and all those who are like minded. I would never wish this on any person but forgive me, I wish something akin to this would happen to those who support Trump and all his folly. Perhaps then they will see.

  3. Hmmm, in no place in this article does it mention that this law was around in 2014. Obama was president then. Trump is enforcing a zero tolerance law to try and persuade illegals from coming into this’s country, it’s a hot topic right now so it’s being discussed, it’s not like no one knows of this. Just because the current president decided to have a zero tolerance doesn’t mean he made the original law. Here’s an article on the topic from USA Today I found today, ironically.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/05/29/heres-what-happening-immigrant-children-u-s-border/650755002/

    And just my opinion, as if I haven’t given it already. While I don’t agree with taking a child from their parents, if there’s no just case, there has to be some kind of enforcement of our laws. Other countries do this everyday, they have all the rights and activiely use their own laws and opinion of who can enter their country. This isn’t a new concept, it’s been here. If you’re warned your not allowed to come illegally Andy I forgot your carrying kids while you do it you will lose them, maybe ask for asylum before losing your kids. And wouldn’t just about every baby be brerastfed? Id say a chunk of the illegals are from very poor Hispanic regions, and very poor places aren’t known for stock piles and baby formula. They majority of these babies would be breastfeeding anyway. And it doesn’t matter that this particular baby is breastfed, even if they gave their kids formula they would be taken just the same.

    Just because I lean conservative, doesn’t mean I didn’t sign up until for your newsletter also. Maybe try to site a more neutral decision. You can site multiple sides opinions, not just CNNs.

  4. I understand that the law was in place long before trump stepped in to the White House, and I understand that laws need to be enforced. And I wish that Sheamy Tsai had done her homework as a journalist and learned the Honduran mother’s name and the reason she decided to risk an illegal international border crossing.

    But none of this has any bearing at all on the trauma to the nursing baby of being separated from its mother. Not only is it potentially life threatening, it’s unspeakably cruel to traumatize a baby like this.

    Tsai tells us this separation is alleged to have happened, but doesn’t provide us with more information than that. Stories without facts to back them up are, unfortunately, the bread and butter of the propaganda machines that are working overtime on both sides of the aisle right now.

  5. Wow, I am appalled at these comments. ginger and amy you sound absolutely brainwashed- where is your common sense; your nurturing mama instinct? You made a good point about this being in place during Obama’s admin but as soon as you start using inhumane euphemisms like “illegals” it just makes you sound narrow minded… perhaps instead of being hostile you may consider showing some empathy and encourage people to do research. You will all quickly see that inhumane atrocities against women and children happen no matter which political party is playing house. I also want to encourage you, Ginger and Amy, to do some research on why these people are coming over– did you know that many of them are unaware that it’s illegal to come into our country? Many are simple and poor rural folks leaving hostile conditions that we (the USA) have helped create. Do you really think a mother with children would do something illegal just for the fun of it? Or perhaps there is some desperation and urgency due to conditions you can’t even imagine. This is actually a refugee crisis but we don’t want to use those words because we would be charged with crimes against humanity for the things we are doing (work camps, isolation of children, unthinkable abuse and rape of women and children, etc). We may not all agree politically but as mothers we can all understand the undying love and sacrifice that we have for our children and these women that you call “illegals” are simply mothers trying to help their children in any way they can– by getting out. Every single one of us would do it if we had to. When leaving hell becomes illegal, what are you supposed to do?
    And before you assume much about me and start thinking I’m a CNN liberal brat, let me say I am a married, Christian (Orthodox) woman, more religiously conservative than I’ve ever been. I am a mother, I am a U.S citizen and I am also a refugee. God, have mercy on these families and these innocent children.

  6. This is merely an illustration of how white supremacy has always functioned in the USA.

    Black and brown parents are criminalized so that they don’t have the right to raise their own children. It happened 400 years under slavery, it happens today with hotlining and interventions of concerned authorities, over something as trivial as a water bill. The way white supremacy works has always been plain to people of color who are policed by it. It seems to come as a surprise when it hits the news, but it’s the same old same old.

    Until the USA ratifies human rights declarations and dismantles white supremacy, everyone is complicit in this system of oppression.

    1. I am shocked at the narrow focus of the comments here.

      Honestly, this happens across the US several times a day in our own homes with the help of the local police force, so this woman should get used to it. Welcome to America!

      CPS does this to citizen mothers for reasons less than illegal criminal entry to this country. Get a clue. We are mothers are all expendable.

      Shame on the police and social workers involved.

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