Parker Waichman LLP Takes A Stand Against The Immigration Consequences of The Trump Administration
According to CNN, thousands of undocumented, migrant children separated from their parents must reside in sub-human conditions, notwithstanding the executive order recently signed by President Trump. The government forces these children to live in deplorable conditions and suffer abuse at the hands of the caretakers. Legal actions claim that children who reside in detention facilities managed by private companies under the auspices of the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement suffer from maltreatment, abuse, deprivation of necessary medication, torture-like restraints, and tranquilizer injections. Additionally, these children are deprived of necessities like residing in detention centers in Texas during the summer without air conditioning, not being permitted to go to the bathroom during school hours, recorded phone calls to their parents, and systemic racism.
Parker Waichman LLP has always believed that every human being is entitled to fundamental human rights, no matter their immigration status. Undocumented children residing in the United States deserve to have every accommodation a child should have. At Parker Waichman, our class action lawsuit lawyers have the resources, knowledge, skill, and training to successfully fight for immigrant children separated from their parents who have suffered injuries and indignities at the hands of the U.S. government and its contractors. There is no excuse for assaulting, drugging, and unlawfully restraining children separated from their parents as a result of immigration practices.
Torture in Detention Facilities
One lawsuit filed on behalf of a 13-year-old boy whose mother brought him into the U.S. as a baby seeks release from a detention facility. The legal filings describe conditions to which this child was subjected fall far below minimum habitation standards. Law enforcement authorities detained the child as an undocumented immigrant. The authorities separated the child from his parents when they discovered the boy in a vehicle pulled over by police. Police detained him, and federal authorities placed him in a detention center for undocumented children. The boy’s life turned into a living hell.
He tried to escape from the facility but failed. Consequently, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) removed the boy from that detention center two more times and came to reside in a detention facility in Shenandoah Valley, in the western region of Virginia despite living in Texas. This is a regional facility designed to hold some of the most dangerous immigrant children in the U.S. However, this particular 13-year-old child was not a dangerous criminal. He tried to hurt himself and began acting out while in detention. As a result, the authorities labeled him a “behavioral problem” and treated him as such. Not a single person in a position of power could determine that the child was essentially homesick and missed his mother.
The papers filed in the litigation claim that the detention facility labeled the child as a having “ADHD, anxiety, and intermittent explosive disorder.” The facility’s response to this diagnosis was to deprive the boy of fresh air for several months on end. The child admitted he lashed out at the staff but claims that his behavior was warranted by the conditions to which he was subjected. The child averred in an affidavit that the staff ridiculed him in English believing that he could not comprehend because his native language is Spanish. The boy is bilingual and knew precisely what they were saying. This fueled his anger.
In an effort to restrain the child, facility employees had to physically control him which caused him to suffer injuries to his face, ribs, wrists, and shoulders. Occasionally, the staff handcuffed the child to a chair and placed a hood over his head with holes through which he could breathe as punishment. At least five other children described suffering further indignation by being stripped naked and chained to a chair.
The administrators who run the Shenandoah facility tacitly acknowledge physical restraint occurs at their facility. These administrators justify restraint by claiming that the residents at the facility spat upon them, struck them, and fought with them. When this occurred, the staff members utilized an “emergency restraint chair” and forcibly detained the child and would use other means of restraint like shackles and a spit mask.
Most of the undocumented children living in the custody of ORR reside in shelters. Many of these shelters cannot meet the demands of the overflow of children. Staffing levels are dangerously low, and they are poorly trained. Additionally, the staff can be abusive. Instances of abuse in shelters ranging from stealing a child’s money, sexual abuse, not allowing a child to use the bathroom, forcing the child to urinate in the classroom, and eavesdropping on phone calls and reviewing mail.
ORR transfers children to secure facilities if the staff deems the child to be a security risk or are suspected as having behavioral issues. Given the trauma that all of these poor children have suffered, there can be little doubt that they have behavioral, psychological, and emotional problems as well. Instead of adequately dealing with them, the ORR sends them to facilities like the one in Marvel, TX. This facility is notorious for its maltreatment of immigrant children.
One 13-year-old child who fled from El Salvador to the U.S. recounted horror stories about being drugged. He was detained as an undocumented child and tried to run away. The attempt failed. The staff responded by physically abusing him and then injecting him with a sedative. This boy’s anecdote is not unique. Other documented incidents include children taking what the staff called “vitamins” but were actually powerful and addictive anti-psychotic medications and sedatives.
Another female detainee described a similar experience. She alleged in an affidavit that staff at the Marvel, TX facility would give the children shots to keep them calm if they acted up instead of talking to them, including forcing the children on the floor so the staff could administer the injection. The girl described her state of being as a flat affect after receiving a shot and suffering terrible side effects like nausea, headaches, and appetite loss. The girl thought living on the streets of Honduras was better than living in this particular facility.
Federal funding for detention centers continues to flood the coffers of the offending facilities in Virginia and Texas, as well as others across the U.S. Children claim that they must sleep on beds with nails protruding, live in rags because the facilities lack adequate clothing, and suffer physical abuse as well as emotional abuse. One detainee in California averred that the staff used pepper spray on him no fewer than seven times. Additionally, a child who fled Guatemala to avoid a physically abusive father and forced child labor claim that the detention center at which he resides treats him like an animal. In fact, he claimed in a lawsuit that he must wear clothing similar to inmates, lived in a cell, and was treated like a criminal without facing any criminal charges. One of the managers of the facility told a municipal board that the facility cannot handle the mental health needs of the children and recommended that the place is shuttered.
Children enter this mysterious system in various ways. Some are accompanied by parents seeing asylum, others face criminal charges as a juvenile, or are found unaccompanied in the U.S. Although many of these complaints emerged before the current presidential administration, President Trump’s executive order declaring that migrant children and parents must not be separated could prevent these horrors from happening, much damage has already been done. The government continues to trample on migrant’s due process rights as they enter into the U.S.
Parker Waichman LLP Fights for Justice for All
Every person residing in these United States has the right to due process and fair treatment. These rights are fundamental to the existence of every human being found within the borders of the U.S. That is why we will fight to protect your family’s rights if you or your children suffered physical or emotional injuries from being held in captivity by the U.S. government or one of its sub-contractor detention centers.
Call Parker Waichman’s Immigration Injury lawyers today to schedule a free case evaluation. Call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to schedule yours today. We are here 24/7 for you and your family. Time is limited, and you need to act now to protect your rights.
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation
Has the U.S. Government separated your family?Click To Get A Free Case Review