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Radical Malfeasance: Drugging Immigrant Kids And Dividing Families

Trump’s latest outrage so shocked the conscience of the world that the United Nations issued a resounding condemnation, and sent Trump himself scrambling to cover his tracks. Arch nativists Stephen Miller & John Kelly advised the President to pull the lever on the “nuclear option” for deterring immigration — separating children and parents upon arrival. After an increase in immigrant numbers last month, Trump made the terrible choice to follow Miller and Kelly’s advice.

Adult Detention

Parents most often find themselves in a GEO Group or CoreCivic detention facility. GEO Group receives more taxpayer funding for housing immigrants than any other ICE contractor. GEO Group donated to the Trump campaign, and at least one of their executives stated publicly that they expected increased revenue following Trump’s election. Hyper focused on immigration as an issue, the Trump administration appears to have no problem with this perverse profit-based incentive.

Children in Custody

There is poor coordination between Customs and Border Patrol, which takes the children, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which puts them into shelters and foster care. As a result, many parents and children don’t know one another’s whereabouts. Mothers and fathers are being deported while their sons and daughters remain in the U.S.

Child Transport Bus used by GEO Group Immigrant Detention Centers
Child Transport Bus – Photo Credit: GEO Group

Children, either formally unaccompanied or made so by virtue of the arrest of their parents, go into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The ORR contracted with a number of civilian agencies to oversee the children’s care. A prominent example, Southwest Key Programs, operates the “Casa Padre” facility in Brownsville—the location that refused to grant access to Senator Jeff Merkeley. Southwest Key Programs operates 27 shelters for immigrant children in three states. Given the new Trump administration policy, Southwest Key Programs requested permission from Texas state regulators to operate above capacity.

The acting assistant secretary of the DHS Administration for Children and Families testified to Congress back in April, informing legislators that the agency ”lost track” of nearly 1500 unaccompanied minors. Two months later, the number of children in “care” (custody) surged to over 11,000The immigration system cannot properly care for the huge number of children separated from their parents by the Trump administration’s recent policies. Click To Tweet

Chemical Restraint

Understaffed facilities and increasing numbers of ‘unaccompanied’ minors creates a potentially volatile situation. Investigative reports have revealed the frequent use of medication as ‘chemical restraints’ to insure that immigrant children exhibited calm and docile behavior. The Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation defines chemical restraint as “a drug or medication, or a combination, when it is used as a restriction to manage the patient’s behavior, restrict the patient’s freedom of movement, or to impair the patient’s ability to appropriately interact with their surroundings–and is not standard treatment or dosage for the patient’s condition.”

Forensic Psychiatrist Mark Mills said:

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist here; it looks like they’re trying to control agitation and aggressive behavior with antipsychotic drugs.”

A class action lawsuit based on the poor treatment of immigrant children in U.S. custody includes allegations regarding use of chemical restraints. In the course of the lawsuit, questions will be asked about who administered the medications, and who monitored the children for side effects or adverse reactions. Children received one or more of the following medications:

  • Benztropine (Cogentin)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Divalproex (Depakote)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Guanfacine (Intuniv)
  • Lurasidone (Latuda)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Zirprasidone (Geodon)

Side effects from these drugs can be severe. For example, antipsychotic medication meant to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability with autism, can cause rapid weight gain and diabetes in young people. Many of the medications are not FDA approved for treatment in children, and all psychotropic medications require close supervision by trained medical personnel.

Clearly the last point, proper medical supervision, is generally poor to nonexistent. The pending class action lawsuit includes statements from immigrant children claiming that the medications had severe effects like dizziness, inability to walk, and drowsiness. Trump administration “zero tolerance” on immigration means families are detained then separated, and children are drugged so they will be docile and compliant.

Jesus wept. #RadicalMalfeasance

Holly Blomberg
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Holly Blomberg

Contributing Writer at Indie Writer
Trained as both a registered nurse and an attorney, I aim to speak truth to power unconstrained by ideology or dogma. As Emerson said, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”
Holly Blomberg
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