Gitmo Abuse of Unwanted Immigrant Children

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Gitmo Abuse of Unwanted Immigrant Children

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

America’s global gulag prison system is the shame of the nation. Unjustifiable brutality isn’t just at Gitmo and other US torture prisons abroad.

It’s commonplace domestically. Unlawful practices include prisoners savaged by dogs, shocked with cattle prods, burned with toxic chemicals, harmed by stun guns, beaten causing broken bones and other injuries, stripped naked, and abused in other ways.

According to AP News, unwanted immigrant children are being horrifically abused in detention – “beaten while handcuffed, restrained and hooded, isolated in solitary confinement “for long periods…stripped (and) left nude…shivering in concrete cells.”

Children at the Shiloh Treatment Center in Manvel, Texas are given powerful psychotropic drugs and forced injections without parental consent or disclosure of harm to victimized kids.

All of the above and more revealed in court documents from civil lawsuits in Virginia and Texas amounts to brutal torture, a crime against humanity under international law, outrageous against any human being, notably oppressive against children.

AP reported kids severely abused at the Virginia Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, including bones broken by guards and other horrific mistreatment.

A Honduran immigrant detainee said he was “(s)trapped…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.”

A former child development specialist employed at the Virginia facility said she saw kids with serious injuries, speaking on condition of anonymity. She’s not authorized to reveal abusive practices.

It’s out there anyway, unwanted kids mistreated for their nationality, ethnicity, race and/or religion. Abused children aren’t gang members from Central America or elsewhere, as Trump falsely said, claiming ICE agents notorious for repression are doing “one great job.”

According to congressional testimony by a Shenandoah facility manager, many kids detained are mentally ill from trauma endured in their home countries.

Detention facilities aren’t able to give them the treatment they need. Detained kids fled oppression back home, seeking safe haven in America, horrifically abused instead, treating them like criminals.

Shenandoah is one of three US juvenile detention centers contracted by Washington to provide “secure placement” for children considered troublesome at less restrictive facilities.

Interned kids face deportation or await rulings on their refugee or asylum status. They’re virtually imprisoned under harsh conditions, their rights denied, authorities dismissive of their welfare.

According to AP, “Virginia ranks among the worst states in the nation for wait times in federal immigration courts, with an average of 806 days before a ruling.” 

“Nationally, only about half of juveniles facing deportation are represented by a lawyer, according to Justice Department data.”

“The lawsuit filed against Shenandoah alleges that young Latino immigrants held there ‘are subjected to unconstitutional conditions that shock the conscience, including violence by staff, abusive and excessive use of seclusion and restraints, and the denial of necessary mental health care.’ “

Latino kids were largely segregated from white detainees, ill-treated and ill-fed, physically and emotionally abused – mistreated by “an excessive amount of force that goes far beyond what is needed to establish or regain control,” according to the lawsuit, adding:

“(M)alicious and sadistic applications of force (caused) significant injuries, both physical and psychological.”

A July 3 federal district court hearing on the case is scheduled. An anonymous former Shenandoah child specialist said “(t)he majority of the kids we worked with when we went to visit them were emotionally and verbally abused.”

“They (were) put in isolation for months for things like picking up a pencil when a guard had said not to move.” 

“Some of them started hearing voices that were telling them to hurt people or hurt themselves, and I knew when they had gotten to Shenandoah they were not having any violent thoughts.”

Along with policies initiated by his predecessors, Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy bears much responsibility for abusive practices, ruthlessly mistreating adults, youths, and young children.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.