A judge in California instructed the American border authorities to reunite all separated families within one month. The order has given hope to children who have been separated from their parents and relatives for long.
Recently, several legal organizations sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for mistreating minors detained in custody. The organizations accused the state of forcing children to take various psychotropic drugs without seeking their parents, relatives or custodian consent. This prevented children from reuniting with their families.
A few days ago, a Californian judge ordered the state to stop separating family members. The state had established a “zero tolerance” policy which prompted separation of families. Further, the judge ordered the federal government to reunite over 2,000 children with their families. Similarly, another lawsuit filed in April accused state-owned facilities of giving children an overdose to manage trauma arising from being separated from their relatives.
The Centre for Human Rights & Constitutional Law
One of the organizations which filed last Friday’s lawsuit, the Centre for Human Rights & Constitutional Law initiated the famous 1997 Flores settlement that explains how the state should treat detained children.
On the other hand, the Trump-led team is requesting a California court to change the settlement. It intends to detain children for long together with their families. Carlos Holguin, the center’s general counsel, said that the Department of Health and Human Services has been mistreating minors for long. His group has been challenging the federal government for over 30 years.
Carlos stated that the government has persistently tried to scrap the legal rights which protect underage children separated from their parents at the border. Currently, over 8,000 minors remain in custody. The legal organizations mainly focus on protecting the rights of all juveniles in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services didn’t comment on the litigation.
The Lawsuit Complainants
Last Friday’s lawsuit includes five children accusing contractors in charge of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement of mistreatment. In one case, a 12-year-old Guatemalan boy detained since February was given psychotropic medication to treat depression.
He developed depression while in custody. The complainant stated that the minor refused to continue with medication since it affected him negatively. The shelter’s officials decided to transfer the boy to Texas-based Shiloh Residential Treatment Centre. The officials of the Centre said that they’ll release the minor once he is psychologically stable.
In a different scenario, a 16-year-old Honduras girl has been treated with Abilify, Clonidine, Prozac, and Seroquel. Despite being partially deaf, border authorities didn’t provide her with hearing aids.
The federal government has many options to control illegal immigration but mistreating children in custody isn’t one of them.