Five migrant children detained without their families by the Trump administration filed suit Friday alleging abuse, including forcible drugging, while they were held by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
"The government is cruelly inflicting trauma on children by subjecting them to jail-like conditions for prolonged periods, drugging them with powerful psychotropic medication without oversight or consent, and arbitrarily denying them release to family members," said a statement from the National Center for Youth Law, which has teamed up with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law to represent the children in court.
The lawsuit details the circumstances under which the children were forcibly medicated. In one case, a 16-year-old girl named "Daniela Marisol lost hope that she would ever be released to her family." She became depressed and was administered at least six psychotropic medications, some of which alone and in combination with each other have been found to increase the risk of suicidality in young adults. Daniela Marisol, who is also partially deaf and has not been supplied with a hearing aid throughout months of detention, has since become suicidal.
In another case, a boy named Miguel became anxious in a months-long detention. He was required to take at least four psychotropic medications that made him "feel itchy, dizzy, aggressive, nauseous, and caused him to gain an unusual amount of weight in a short period of time."
The lawsuit is seeking class action status to address the ORR's detention of children more broadly.