Trump Administration Must Rescind Xenophobic Regulation Targeting Women Born Outside the U.S.


February 4, 2020

Contact: Nikki Metzgar,, 202-599-7642

Washington, D.C. — The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and more than 150 other organizations are calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to rescind an alarming new regulation aimed at denying pregnant people visas to prevent them from traveling to the United States. The provisions, published on January 24, predominantly affect travelers from Asia, Africa, and Latin America and subject people of color to scrutiny and suspicion simply because of their race or country of origin. A copy of the letter can be found here

The 155 organizations that signed the letter advocate on a broad range of issues including immigration, reproductive health, rights and justice, worker’s rights, civil liberties, and human rights. Leading Democratic Senators have also demanded suspension of the rule, which gives consular officials with no medical experience vast discretion without due process to deny visas to people they “have reason to believe” are pregnant, without any review or oversight. The rule follows an incident in which a Hong Kong airline, under pressure by government authorities, forced a woman to take a pregnancy test before she was allowed to board a plane to the U.S. Pacific island of Saipan.

“The Trump administration’s goal is to deny people of color entry to the United States, period,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “This rule treats pregnant people of color as inherently guilty, unworthy of respect, and subjects us to bizarre and invasive tests before we can move about the world. We’re calling on Secretary Pompeo to rescind the regulation immediately. By failing to act, he makes it clear he believes this country belongs to white people and is willing to intimidate and demean pregnant Asian people to prove the case.”

“The Trump administration’s recently published pregnancy ban is just one more attack on the well-being of immigrants and women of color,” said Ann Marie Benitez, Senior Director of Government Relations at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Since beginning its term, this administration has been sending the message that immigrants and people of color are not welcome here, and this political climate is taking a toll on the well-being of our communities. We believe immigrants are bestowed with inherent human rights – freedom of movement, healthcare, and the fundamental right to establish families with dignity and unity. Instead of pushing these toxic policies, Secretary Pompeo should advance policies that respect the dignity and agency of immigrant women.”

The administration has a shameful track record of subjecting women of color seeking entry into the U.S. to mistreatment related to their reproductive rights and health: it has detained thousands of pregnant women in detention centers with inhumane conditions and with inadequate access to health care; severely limited eligibility for asylum for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors; and tried to coerce detained immigrant minors into carrying their pregnancies to term by blocking their access to abortion and tracked the pregnancies and menstrual periods of unaccompanied minors in custody. 


The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina/x power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 29 million Latinas/xs, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.