Government Violating Court Order To Stop Drugging Children In Immigrant Detention Center, Suit Claims

Lea van der Merwe

A federal judge issued an order at the end of July that requires the government to stop medicating children being held in detention centers without permission from a parent or legal guardian -- among other things -- but recent information out of a Texas shelter indicates they are failing to do so.

According to Reveal News, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee stated on July 30 that children being held at the Shiloh Treatment Center were not allowed to be kept medicated on psychiatric drugs unless a parent had given permission, or a court order was issued to do so for every individual child. Gee also ordered that any of the children in the facility who are not considered to be a danger to either themselves or others should be moved to "less restrictive housing," and that they should all be allowed to make private phone calls.

Despite the order, legal representatives for the children have now filed cases against the government alleging that children are still being drugged without the proper required consent and that most of them still have not been moved to a different facility.

But according to attorneys for the children, as recently as in the past week, the government was still violating Gee's order.

"Child after child reported that the Court's order has had little impact on ORR's placing children at Shiloh or on the treatment they experience there," one record reads.

One child in custody told a lawyer on Thursday, "The drugs make me feel really tired and sluggish. … Sometimes I have stomach pain and a lot of headaches. … No one from Shiloh has asked permission from my mother or my aunt to give me the medications."

The court filings also allege that officials at the facility are continuing to listen in on phone calls children are making to their relatives and that many of the children are not being given the required notice in a language they can understand explaining why they are being detained, as Gee ordered in her ruling.