Anaconda, Apparently, and Children: BUSINESS
Migrant children say they've
been forcibly drugged,
handcuffed, and abused in US
Tara Francis Chan 9h
Central American asylum-seekers wait as US Border
Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12
near McAllen, Texas. John Moore/Getty Images
Migrant children who are
minors and are in the care of the
US government say they've been
drugged and abused.
Court documents in a class-action
lawsuit filed in April reveal
shocking allegations that the
children were overprescribed
psychotropic drugs, leading to
weight gain, an inability to walk,
and forced sleep.
Other children say they were
abused verbally, physically, and
Children were not informed about what conditions they apparently had.
“I don’t remember if I got anything in writing about their decision but
I don’t think I had an opportunity to challenge it … I took nine
pills in the morning and seven in the evening. I don’t know what
medications I was taking; no one ever told me that. I don’t know what my
diagnosis or illness is.”
Physical force was used to administer drugs.
“I also saw staff throw another youth to the ground, pry his mouth open
and force him to take the medicine … They told me that if I did not
take the medicine I could not leave, that the only way I could get out
of Shiloh was if I took the pills.”
Staff members initiated tranquilizations.
“When [a staff member at Shiloh] would call the medical staff, they
would come and give me a shot to tranquilize me. It happened many times.
They would give me the shot and then I would start to feel sleepy and
heavy, and like I didn’t have any strength. I would sleep for three or
four hours and then wake up and slowly start to feel my strength return.
When the staff did that, they left me in the classroom near the wall to
Children were verbally abused by staff to provoke a response.
“Some of the staff at Shiloh would provoke the children there and make
us angry intentionally. They made us act violently so then we had to be
given shots. The staff would call us names like ‘sons of a whore.’”
Some were unable to walk normally.
“They are requiring [my daughter] to take very powerful medications for
anxiety. I have noted that [she] is becoming more nervous, fearful, and
she trembles. [She] tells me that she has fallen several times …
because the medications were too powerful and she couldn’t walk.”
Some children experienced unhealthy weight gain, including one who said they put on nearly 100 pounds.
“After taking the medication, I was more tired, I felt sad and my eyes
got teary … I began to gain a lot of weight … In approximately 60
days, I gained 45 pounds.”
Some were handcuffed for days on end.
“At Shenandoah, my room had a mattress, a sink, and a toilet … I was
forced to wear handcuffs on my wrists and shackles on my feet for
approximately 10 days in a row.”
Children were allowed outside for only one hour a day.
“I am suffering a lot being in the Yolo Juvenile Detention Center. It
is a jail and I sleep in a locked, small jail cell. I can’t leave here
and have no freedom at all. We only get one hour of time outside each
day. I have to live in a small cell with concrete walls.”
Clothes were taken away. “Whenever I was put in restriction, they took away my mattress and blanket. They took my clothes away about 8 times.”
And these are just the children old enough to tell us.