Law Offices of George Giosmas

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Abuse and sedation reported at child detention centers

Immigration detention practices in Florida and across the United States continue to make controversial headlines in 2018. In late July, a federal district judge ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to release all minors detained at a center in Texas after harrowing reports of child abuse were leaked to news media outlets.

The allegations stacked against the Shiloh Residential Treatment Center included denying a child water, abusive punishment and even sedation of children with psychotropic medications without the consent of their parents. It should be noted that the immigration detention of these children took place at the southern border where they were separated from their parents, many of them migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

The Trump administration has been subject to various court orders directing the Department of Health and Human Services to reunite the detained children with their parents, many of whom have already been removed from the country or are otherwise facing deportation proceedings. The overzealous enforcement of immigration laws under the Trump administration has shocked advocates and analysts who believe that the government is just starting to face an avalanche of legal challenges.

Although the aforementioned child detention center has not been shut down, the court order dictates that immediate operational improvements should be made. It is likely that these centers and the federal agencies that contract them will soon be named in various civil lawsuits filed by immigrants and advocacy groups.

Something that immigrants must keep in mind is that the U.S. government cannot arbitrarily take away their rights to due process. They should not be abused, and their legal rights should be observed, including being able to discuss their situation with immigration law firms.

Source: USA Today, "Judge orders minors transferred out of immigration detention facility", Alan Gomez, 07/31/2018

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