Advocates for Migrant Children Take U.S. Government to Court Amid Horrifying Allegations

June 21, 2018, 1:27 PM UTC

Just because President Donald Trump has abandoned the policy of separating children from their parents who cross the U.S.-Mexican border illegally doesn’t mean the issue of how migrant children are treated will fade away soon. The federal government is already facing a number of lawsuits from civil rights groups. And more could be on the way.

In one suit, immigrant children as young as 14 say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked nude in solitary confinement in a Virginia detention center. Another claim, filed days after the introduction of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, alleges immigrant children being detained by the government were given medication without parental consent.

The abuse claims are centered on the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Va., and include first-hand accounts from children. Many of those children were accused of belonging to violent gangs, but a top manager at the Shenandoah center recently told a congressional hearing that the children appeared to be suffering from mental health issues, and were not gang members, says The Washington Post.

In court filings, lawyers for the detention facility have denied all allegations of physical abuse.

Meanwhile, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and the National Center for Youth Law filed a class action suit on behalf of migrant children on April 16, accusing government-funded youth shelters of forcing children to take multiple psychotropic drugs.

Some youths in Texas, according to the suit, were given up to nine pills in the morning and six at night and were told they would remain detained if they refused them. Some children, says the suit were held down and given injections if they refused the drugs.

Trump reversed the controversial policy of separating children from parents Wednesday, amid strong pressure from both political parties, as well as many major businesses.