ACLU: We've Been Beating The Shit Out Of Unaccompanied Minors For Years
We might not have been separating children from their parents, but we MAYBE, POSSIBLY, were torturing them physically and emotionally, according to the ACLU.
Allegations of Abuse
Here are some of the abuse claims alleged in the documents obtained by the ACLU.
From ACLU San Diego:
"Examples of the documented abuses include allegations that CBP officials:
Punched a child's head three times
Kicked a child in the ribs
Used a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head
Ran over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then punched him several times
Verbally abused detained children, calling them dogs and "other ugly things"
Denied detained children permission to stand or move freely for days and threatened children who stood up with transfer to solitary confinement in a small, freezing room
Denied a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth
Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they "forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed"
Left a 4-pound premature baby and her minor mother in an overcrowded and dirty cell full of sick people, against medical advice
Threw out a child's birth certificate and threatened him with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee."
Physical abuse? Check. Psychological abuse? Check. Sexual abuse? Check. Child abuse, lack of care, and neglect? Check check check. All of these various abuses and tortures are very reminiscent of abuses and torture we have doled out to whichever group of brown people Americans of the day are afraid of. Some of the facilities the children are sent to after initial processing have extensive histories of abuse. Kinda like plantations, internment camps, and Indian schools, if you get my drift.
Physical abuse at Shenandoah
"The abuse claims against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia, are detailed in federal court filings that include a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino teens jailed there for months or years. Multiple detainees say the guards stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads."
Remember Abu-Ghraib prison where inmates were humiliated and tortured in various ways? Those victims ALSO had bags placed on their heads, were stripped of clothing, and at times were strapped down.
"Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me," said a Honduran immigrant who was sent to the facility when he was 15 years old. "Strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn't really move. ... They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on."
What the holy fuck?? Didn't we outlaw torture?? What horrifying crime was this child accused of that made it necessary to lock him in a place where torture seems commonplace? Even Hannibal Lecter, WHO ACTUALLY ATE PEOPLE, was allowed to have a tiny mask that just muzzled him so he couldn't EAT MORE PEOPLE. I highly doubt these kids are psychopathic murderers who use their high IQs to lure staff into helping them escape so they can eat human livers with fava beans and nice Chianti. Right?
CBS News reports that many of the children were sent to this facility after having been accused of participating in violent gangs, like MS-13, the boogeyman the Trump administration has been using to justify his immigration crackdown. But according to Kelsey Wong, who works at the facility, this appears to be some major bullshit.
"The youth were being screened as gang-involved individuals. And then when they came into our care, and they were assessed by our clinical and case management staff ... they weren't necessarily identified as gang-involved individuals," said Kelsey Wong, a program director at the facility."
Medical Abuse at Shiloh
Even more complaints of abuse are alleged within the report released by the ACLU, with some children being held at the Shiloh Treatment Center in Texas describing being medicated against their will.
From the Texas Tribune:
"Children held at the Shiloh Treatment Center, a government contractor south of Houston that houses immigrant minors, described being held down and injected, according to the federal court filings. The lawsuit alleges that children were told they would not be released or see their parents unless they took medication and that they only were receiving vitamins."
Oh, "vitamins." Victims described being medicated until they became dizzy, disoriented, and often confused. Even in heavily medicated states, they recall the abuse from staff members, with some of that abuse resulting in serious injuries.
"One mother said her child fell repeatedly, hitting her head, and ended up in a wheelchair. A child described trying to open a window and being hurled against a door by a Shiloh supervisor, who then choked her until she fainted."
It is possible that the children were being medicated to ensure that they would be quiet and malleable, making it easier for staff members to control. Regardless of their intentions, abusing medication and forcing people to be medicated against their will simply to make them easy to control is abuse.
Forensic psychiatrist Mark. J. Mills has looked over the medical documents and court filings.
"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," said Mills, who practices in the Washington, D.C., area and was an expert witness for a lawsuit that in 2008 stopped the federal government from forcibly administering antipsychotic drugs to deportees."
Rep Sheila Jackson Lee has called for the closure of the Shiloh facility before, back in 2014 when allegations of abuse were revealed by the Houston Chronicle. The abuse at Shiloh goes back years, and a sister facility called Daystar Residential Inc was shut down in 2011 after a restraint death was ruled a Homicide. Shiloh itself has a history of deaths under similar circumstances. Shiloh, Daystar, and the now defunct Behavior Training Research Facility are all sister facilities run by the same group. With Daystar and the Behavior Training Research Facility now closed, why is Shiloh still licensed to operate, and why are migrant children being sent there? Why are ANY children being sent there?
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