- CNN published an article alleging ICE apprehended a Guatemalan mother who was still nursing her four-month-old daughter.
- A medical examination by a nurse practitioner found the woman was not even lactating, and ICE identified her as being a Mexican national, not a Guatemalan.
- ICE has a well-established policy of releasing apprehended illegal aliens for humanitarian reasons, which includes nursing mothers.
CNN published a story Monday about a breastfeeding mother apprehended in an ICE raid, but a medical examination disputes the story’s basic premise, finding the woman is not even lactating.
A CNN article told the story of Maria Domingo-Garcia, a mother of three of who was among the 680 illegal aliens apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier in August. Domingo-Garcia was arrested while working at a Koch Foods in Morton, Mississippi, and is currently being held in a facility in Jena, Louisiana.
Titled “A breastfeeding mom is still being held in an ICE facility 12 days after being detained, attorneys say,” the article centered around Domingo-Garcia’s separation from her four-month-old daughter, and the subsequent pain of not being able to breastfeed anymore. CNN spoke to Domingo-Garcia’s attorneys, Juliana Manzanarez and Ybarra Maldonado, both whom claimed that she was still breastfeeding her baby at the time of her arrest.
“She is still really depressed. She is in a lot of pain because of not being able to pump or breastfeed,” Manzanarez said, describing the Domingo-Garcia’s physical pain after no longer nursing her baby.
The article included a statement from ICE that claimed Domingo-Garcia answered “no” when asked by an ICE official if she was breastfeeding. Her lawyers told CNN that statement was not true. “ICE is, once again, lying,” Maldonado said. “She said nobody’s asked her — not even one time — if she’s been breastfeeding.”
However, new medical evidence indicates that the mother of three may not be telling the entire truth.
In a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation, not only did ICE reiterate that Doming-Garcia said “no” when first asked if she was breastfeeding upon arrival at an ICE facility, but a spokesperson revealed that a subsequent medical examination found that she was not even lactating.
“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 breast feeding. During her initial medical screening, Ms. Domingo-Garcia answered no to that question,” said ICE spokesman Bryan Cox.
“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 she is not lactating,” Cox continued. (RELATED: CBP Chief Mark Morgan Defends Record-Breaking Illegal Immigration Operation)
CNN also misidentified Domingo-Garcia’s nationality, according to ICE. The article describes her as being “originally from Guatemala,” but ICE identified her as a Mexican national living unlawfully in the U.S.
It’s not entirely clear if CNN relied entirely on claims made by Domingo-Garcia’s attorneys. A CNN spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment from the DCNF.
Domingo-Garcia was among the 680 apprehended on August 7 in an ICE raid targeting several food processing plants across Mississippi, the largest ICE raid in U.S. history. Of those arrested, 303 were released within 24 hours, mostly out of humanitarian concerns and other circumstances. The agency suggested a nursing mother likely would not be kept in custody.
“Any suggestion that ICE does not give significant consideration to humanitarian factors when making arrest and custody determinations would be a patently false claim,” the agency said.