Juana Villega de la Paz made news this summer when she was detained by a police officers for driving without a license while 9 months pregnant. She was found to have no documents and ended up giving birth with in detention and was treated as a securty threat. She was shackled during parts of her labor, a practice that occurs at jails and prisons around the country but is being actively contested.
Juana was released after the birth of her child and told to report to the authorities each month. She just received news that she will be deported the next time she reports.
This story highlights a number of things: the inhumane way people are treated while incarcerated, the way undocumented immigrants are being treated like they are violent or dangerous criminals and the ahborrent state of our immigration policy.
Juana is currently using legal venues to prevent her deportaiton. She has four American citizen children.
This is another example of what we can do to people when we dehumanize them by lumping them into stereotypes (immigrant, illegal, etc). But the amazing thing to me is that it’s in the same continuum (to a much harsher degree) as the violations women undergo everday in the medicalized birthing arena. We all have to stay vigilant in the preservation of information, rights, and the integrity of women’s bodies and spirits.