Staff working on the behalf of the Office of Refugee Resettlement are routinely drugging detained child migrants with psychotropics without their parents’ consent, according to legal filings.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly insisted that the family separation policy they implemented over the last six weeks is humane. But the ongoing lawsuit over the Flores agreement, a 1997 settlement that partly governs the detention of child migrants that the White House hopes to overturn, alleges a litany of wrongdoings at the ORR-contracted facilities.
The drugging allegations are among the most disturbing. One child cited in the lawsuit reported taking up to nine pills in the morning and another seven in the evening, without knowing what the medication was.
“ORR routinely administers children psychotropic drugs without lawful authorization,” a memo filed in the lawsuit on April 16 reads. “When youth object to taking such medications, ORR compels them. ORR neither requires nor asks for a parent’s consent before medicating a child, nor does it seek lawful authority to consent in parents’ stead. Instead, ORR or facility staff sign ‘consent’ forms anointing themselves with ‘authority’ to administer psychotropic drugs to confined children.”
Most of the allegations center on Shiloh Residential Treatment Center, in Manvel, Texas. But lawyers in the Flores case, who have access to the medical records of their clients, say the problem is widespread.
“It’s not specific to Shiloh,” Holly Cooper, one of the lawyers representing children in the Flores agreement litigation, said of the drugging allegations. The attorneys have seen the use of psychotropic medications at all facilities where the federal government...