The U.S. government changed its immigration detention policy on Nov. 16 to address the needs of breastfeeding mothers, the Associated Press reported. The policy follows the Oct. 26 arrest of undocumented immigrant Sayda Umanzor, who was separated from her breastfeeding infant and detained for 11 days after she was seized for deportation.

The new policy requires agents to take humanitarian needs such as breastfeeding or care-giving responsibilities into consideration and to coordinate with social service agencies.

As immigration enforcement has been stepped up in the past year, activists have raised concerns about the impact to children of undocumented immigrants seized in raids. Approximately 5 million U.S. children have at least one undocumented parent, according to a report conducted for the National Council of La Raza, a leading Latino rights group. After analyzing three recent workplace raids, the report found that a majority of children affected were U.S. citizens by birth and tended to be younger and in need of care.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Over 10,000 copies of an interactive CD designed to help abuse victims have been distributed to shelters and service providers by the National Network to End Domestic Violence. The CD provides information and resources to victims so they can learn about technology and avoid using computers or wireless telephones in a manner that can leave electronic footprints allowing abusers to track them. The concept for the CD was developed by Karen Rogers, the granddaughter of Mary Kay Ash, whose charitable foundation paid for the project.

  • Saudi businessman Sheikh Abdullah Ba-Hamdan will build the first free school for girls in Mukalla, Yemen, next year, the Yemen Times reported Nov. 18. Female illiteracy exceeds 67 percent in Yemen and the gender gap in education is among the highest in the world, according to the United Nations.

  • The city of Naples, Italy, has banned cigarette smoking in parks near pregnant women and children, Agence France Presse reported Nov. 19. Violators face fines between $40 and $730.

  • Swedish women in a group called the Bara Bradiost–which translates to “just breasts”–are demanding their right to go topless at beaches and swimming pools, the Daily Mail reported Nov. 20. “We want our breasts to be as normal and desexualised as men’s, so that we too can pull off our shirts at football matches,” said a spokeswoman. Since the campaign launched, women have been diving into swimming pools wearing only bikini bottoms.

For more information:

National Council of La Raza, “Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children:

American Legacy Foundation:

Oxfam, “Up in Smoke: Asia and the Pacific”:


Legislators and public health organizations have teamed up to pressure R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Winston-Salem, N.C., maker of Camel cigarettes, to stop targeting young women. The company’s new brand, Camel No. 9, is marketed in a hot pink and black design and advertised in popular women’s magazines.

In a summer press release, the American Legacy Foundation, a Washington nonprofit aimed at stopping cigarette smoking, announced a campaign by over 45 public health and women’s organizations to pressure magazines and R.J. Reynolds to stop a marketing push they say is aimed solely at turning young women into new smokers. Several lawmakers took part in the campaign, calling and writing the cigarette giant whose advertisers also dreamed up the kid-friendly cartoon mascot Joe Camel.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Nov. 15 was “The Great American Smokeout,” a day to encourage smokers to quit.

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer for women–even more so than breast cancer–according to the American Legacy Foundation. The American Cancer Society predicts that 70,880 women will die from lung and bronchial cancers in 2007. Smoking also causes emphysema and respiratory illnesses and contributes to heart disease.