A judge took “no action” during a Monday bond hearing for Maria Domingo-Garcia, an undocumented immigrant mother who was breastfeeding at the time she was detained in Mississippi’s historic raids last month.
Her attorney, Ray Ybarra Maldonado, called the judge’s action “a shock” and said it shows the “outrageous the lengths (the government) is taking to try to keep her away from her children.”
“This is just a delay tactic to keep her in custody and away from her family,” Ybarra Maldonado told CNN. “Her 5-month-old needs her.”
Domingo-Garcia was detained in early August, before which she had been breastfeeding her daughter to put her to sleep, her attorney has said. She also has two sons, ages 3 and 11. All three children are US citizens, her attorney said.
This week, attorneys for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claimed her Mexican birth certificate was “perhaps a forgery,” Ybarra Maldonado said.
“The government didn’t call us last week when they knew this info. Instead they brought it up today in court. I could have shown up with the documents from the Mexican government to show that it is real,” the attorney said.
Domingo-Garcia’s birth certificate didn’t show up in a database that ICE has access to, which helps to verify a person’s country of origin. As a result, they believe the document to have been forged, Ybarra Maldonado added.
The mother’s first bond hearing was scheduled after she was released from US Marshals custody. The judge also took no action on that hearing on September 4, according to her attorney. “The no action was a result of her not being there because she wasn’t transferred to the court in time,” Ybarra Maldonado said.
“My hope is that we do get her out on bond and fight the charges once we have our master calendar hearing when her charges are ready to be litigated,” Ybarra Maldonado added about his client’s future. He plans on going to the Mexican government to prove that her birth certificate is real “to try to get her bond.”
“Then we will go back with the proof of the documentation, we’ll see what kind of excuse they come up with next,” he said.
ICE says she was not breastfeeding
As previously reported by CNN, immigration officials doubled down on their assertion that the mother arrested is not breastfeeding.
When asked again about it Monday, Domingo-Garcia’s custodial sponsor Dalila Reynoso told CNN “she was breastfeeding at the time (of the raids).”
“That’s something that the feds argued,” Reynoso said. “Her husband has told me that she’s complained of her breasts hurting, but they have ignored her.”
ICE spokesman Bryan Cox had previously said immigration officials did not learn of Domingo-Garcia’s claim that she was breastfeeding until they read it in a news report about a week after she was detained. A nurse practitioner later examined the woman, Cox had said, and determined she was not lactating.
“They said it was a physician that saw her during her breast exam, but it was actually a nurse practitioner,” Reynoso told CNN.
It was not clear whether the mother could have stopped lactating while detained, as experts told CNN the time period depends on several variables, including how long a woman has been breastfeeding, how frequently she breastfeeds, how often she uses formula, along with stress, lack of sleep, medications she’s taking and other health factors. The weaning process typically takes weeks, and in extreme cases, up to six months, experts said.