This week, the Trump administration tested the limits of its anti-immigrant stance by admitting (after denying) and reaffirming its practice of divorcing refugee children from their parents crossing into the United States from the southern border.
Public outcry forced President Trump Wednesday to sign an executive order to reverse the policy.
Although we may no longer be breaking up families at the southern border, there are still no plans to accommodate the 2,300 children who have already been separated and may never see their parents again.
But there’s another sadistic component to Trump’s border “security.”
According to legal affidavits filed April 23 in U.S. District Court in California, there are refugee children in U.S. custody being injected with substances that inflict dizziness, lethargy, and sometimes incapacitation.
Children detained at the Shiloh Treatment Center, a government facility housing immigrant minors south of Houston, Texas, describe being restrained and injected with “vitamins” lest they never see their parents again.
One mother stated her daughter fell repeatedly, hit her head, and wound up wheelchairbound.
A child described a Shiloh supervisor shoving her against a door and choking her until she fainted just for trying to open a window.
The girl said:
“The supervisor told me I was going to get a medication injection to calm me down. Two staff grabbed me, and the doctor gave me the injection despite my objection and left me there on the bed.”
Another child who claimed she was forced to ingest pills three times a day reported:
“The staff told me that some of the pills are vitamins because they think I need to gain weight. The vitamins changed about two times, and each time I feel different.”
One child was prescribed 10 different shots and pills, including antipsychotic drugs Latuda, Geodon, and Olanzapine; Benztropine, used to treat Parkinson’s; Clonazepam and Divalproex, used to treat seizures; the antidepressant Duloxetine; and the cognition drug, Guanfacine.
Maribel Bernardez’s son (whose name she does not want published) was interned at Shiloh at age nine for six months. His caseworker sent Bernardez a WhatsApp video that showed her son “completely hypnotized and lethargic” after being administered psychotropic drugs to which she objected.
Shiloh is just one of 71 private facilities receiving federal funds upwards of $3.4 billion to confine and supervise immigrant children categorized as unaccompanied minors.
Nearly half of the money given to those companies in the past four years went to facilities with significant maltreatment allegations, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Mark. J. Mills is a forensic psychiatrist in the Washington, D.C., area, and served as an expert witness for a 2008 lawsuit that got the federal government to stop forcing anti-psychotic drugs on deportees.
Upon request, Mills assessed information contained within 420 pages of children’s medical records and court filing statements. He reports:
“You don’t need to administer these kinds of drugs unless someone is plucking out their eyeball or some such. The facility should not use these drugs to control behavior. That’s not what antipsychotics should be used for. That’s like the old Soviet Union used to do.”
Mills reviewed a report that showed a child being forced a series of shots and pills for “agitation” and “aggressive behavior” that included three different antipsychotic drug types Mills said were inappropriately prescribed.
When asked how the drugs and dosages would make children feel, Mills replied:
“They feel like shit. They feel like they have given up their own control. The long-term complications are weight gain and developing adult-onset diabetes. These drugs are not benign.”
Attorney interviews with children and parents describe inmates forcibly injected and made to take up to 18 pills per day.
Carlos Holguin, attorney for the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, states drugs’ side effects led to children being fed more powerful drugs.
Holguin and his colleagues interviewed around 20 children. All report being medicated.
Remember what Dr. Josef Mengele did during the Holocaust?
Could we be heading down that road as well?
Image credit: commondreams.org