Federal Judge Confirms Government Officials Were Forcibly Drugging Migrant Children


Full frame heap of various colors pills and capsules, close-up

Getty ImagesJose A. Bernat Bacete

After reports claimed immigrant children were being forced to take psychotropic drugs, a federal judge has now confirmed that government officials were giving these drugs to migrant children at a Texas facility without consent, according to the Washington Post.

Officials said that staff members at the Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Texas only previously gave the children drugs on “an emergency basis,” though the judge said this wasn’t possible as there were reports that some children were given pills every morning and evening.

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Children from the center testified, saying that the side effects of the drugs included nausea, dizziness, depression, and weight gain, and that some were forcibly injected. The judge also said that children at the center were not able to have private telephone calls and were sometimes denied drinking water.

The judge has now ordered that the administration must get consent from a child’s parent or guardian before giving psychotropic medications, except in case of dire emergencies. The judge has also ordered that all children be moved out of the Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Texas, unless a professional says the child poses a “risk of harm.”

This is not the first time Shiloh has been in the news: the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the doctor giving children psychotropic drugs hasn’t been board certified to treat children for almost a decade, and in 2014, there were reports of psychical abuses at the center.

While the court-ordered deadline has passed for the Trump administration to reunite families, there were still over 700 separated children as of Friday. And some parents have found that when they’re reconnected with their children, their kids show signs of anxiety, regression, and other mental health issues, according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that research shows children who have been traumatically separated from their parents are more likely to have emotional problems and cognitive delays, and that it even can impair memory. However, responsive parenting and professional intervention can help with the trauma.


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