July 31, 2018

Trump’s Immigration Dystopia

The Trump administration is forcing children to take mind-altering drugs.

by Chris Thomas

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The news cycle moves pretty fast these days so it’s easy to lose track of things like the fact that our government is in the business of kidnapping children in order to cut down on asylum seekers. Every so often some fresh new hell presents itself to remind us just how far the “land of the free and the home of the brave” has fallen.

So, today, a Federal judge ruled that the “Trump administration must stop giving psychotropic drugs to migrant children without consent.” Because that is an actual thing that this administration needs to be told not to do.

There’s a lot of medical and procedural jargon in the coverage of this story so let’s unpack it. First, the “Trump Administration” here is the “Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement” or just the ORR in most of the court documentation. The ORR is the part of the government that deals with the children the Trump administration snatched away from their parents so the kids we’re talking about here are the ones we’ve been reading about for weeks: children separated from their parents at the border.

“Psychotropic” is medical jargon meaning “relating to or denoting drugs that affect a person’s mental state,” which is a clinical way of saying that these drugs mess with the most basic parts of what make you you. Psychotropics are often used as “chemical restraints” — a way of controlling people with drugs rather than handcuffs, straight jackets, and immobilization straps.

Finally, “consent” is a multi-use word. In this case we’re talking about administering these drugs both without parental consent and without patient consent.

They’re forcing these children to take mind altering medication against their will. Court documents suggest that these drugs were forced upon the children regularly — not in any sort of emergency capacity — and that suggests that they were being used to keep the children docile and compliant.

“I also saw staff throw another youth to the ground, pry his mouth open and force him to take the medicine” — David I.

“I witnessed staff members forcefully give medication four times . . .two staff members pinned down the girl . . . and a doctor gave her one or two injections” — Isabella M.

Among the drugs administered to children without their knowledge or consent: clonazepam, divalproex, duloxetine, guanfacine, lurasidone, ziprasidone, and olanzapine. These are powerful drugs with a lot of very serious side effects. Giving them to children at all is deeply concerning, to say nothing of doing so without patient or parental consent.

This is why we can’t let the issue of child separation drop.

Tell Congress What You Think

The Trump administration has made no secret of the fact that it wants to make things as horrible as possible for would-be asylum seekers in the hopes that they’ll go somewhere else. The fact that this is a violation of international law seems of little concern. It’s up to Congress to hold them to account and it’s up to you to let your Representatives and Senators know what you think about their failure to do so.

You can write to your Representatives and Senators by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to make a difference.

More on Immigration

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