Immigrant children forcibly given drugs in US centre: Lawsuit

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, June 21 (IANS) Unaccompanied immigrant children held at a detention centre in the US state of Texas were forcibly given a variety of psychotropic drugs, according to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit that was made public on Wednesday alleged that immigrant children at Shiloh Treatment Centre in Houston, a government-run facility that houses unaccompanied migrant kids, were held down and told they would not be able to see their parents unless they took the psychiatric drugs.

The lawsuit was filed in April by Centre for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and included mentions of staff at Shiloh acting violently towards children to provoke aggression, the Hill magazine reported.

"The supervisor told me I was going to get a medication injection to calm me down," a young girl told attorneys, according to Reveal News. "Two staff grabbed me, and the doctor gave me the injection despite my objection and left me there on the bed."

The court documents also said that workers administering the drugs at the centre told children that some of the pills were vitamins.

According to filings, one child said "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 given a variety of drugs, including seizure medications, antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs, and the Parkinson's medication known as Benztropine, the report said.

Children said the drugs had negative effects on them, including leaving them unable to walk, fatigued and fearing other people.

The documents were filed in connection with a pending class-action lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration that alleged poor treatment of migrant children being held in federally run facilities, Reveal reported.

The Trump administration is facing backlash over its "zero tolerance" policy that led to the separation of thousands of immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

Trump gave in to intense bipartisan pressure on Wednesday when he signed an executive order intended to end family separations at the border.

"We're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together," Trump said. "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated."