By Scott Sieber
Zhenxing Jiang was three months' pregnant when she reported to a scheduled meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in her hometown in Philadelphia, officials said. She and her husband, Tien Xiao Zhang, 32, worked in a Chinese restaurant for years in Philadelphia and regularly reported to an immigration office there, officials said. Liu said when ICE officers noticed she was pregnant, they shoved her into a car and made the three-hour drive to JFK, where she was scheduled to be deported to China on Feb. 8.Hours after arriving at Kennedy, Jiang told ICE she felt severe pain in her stomach and back, but the officers denied her request to see a doctor, Liu charged.Jiang said the officers told her that “she would have to go back to China to have her babies.” “The actions of the ICE officials are cruel and atrocious,” Liu said. “How can anyone just stand there and mock the tearful pleas of a pregnant woman in pain? This is beyond belief. This is not what the United States of America is about.”An ambulance eventually arrived and told ICE she needed immediate medical attention, at which point the immigration officers allowed Jiang to go to Jamaica Medical Center, Liu said.At the hospital, doctors performed an sonogram where they discovered that her babies had stopped moving and breathing.Her husband was still in Philadelphia and unaware of his wife's condition when he received a phone call from ICE telling him to get to the hospital, Liu said.When he arrived he was told to take his wife home and they would be in touch when she recovers, Liu said.In response to the allegations, ICE released a statement saying Jiang was immediately treated by New York Fire Department Emergency Medical Technicians and she was released so she could recover.The statement went on to say, “Once she is cleared medically, efforts to effectuate her repatriation will resume.”A spokeswoman for the Philadelphia branch of ICE said the officers acted immediately upon hearing that the Jiang required medical attention.”The transport went without incident,” she said. “Our officers took immediate action when she notified them (of her pain.)”Liu called the ICE response an insult to injury.”Today's statement from ICE pours salt on the wounds suffered by Ms. Jiang and her husband,” he said. “This inhuman and callous bureaucratic response is almost as bad as the initial treatment inflicted on Ms. Jiang by the ICE officers who detained her.”In a late development following a Tuesday afternoon rally at City Hall with Liu, City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and immigrant activist groups, Channel 7 news reported that Jiang would be allowed to remain in the country while her attorney fought against the deportation case.Her husband, however, said Jiang disappeared after she was released and probably does not know of the fight on her behalf, the station reported.The New York Times reported Wednesday that ICE would investigate the conduct of the officers by referring the case to its Office of Personal Responsibility.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.