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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

ICE TO CUT BACK ON FORCED SEDATING OF DEPORTEES

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Over the past couple of years on this blog, I've reported on a number of disturbing examples of cruel and offensive treatment of those in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It's nice to be able to report on good news. According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, ICE has dramatically reduced the number of cases where the anti-psychotic drugs such as Haldol are used to forcibly sedate people being deported.

ICE was under considerable pressure to reduce or eliminate the practice as a result of law suits and public pressure. The News reports that ICE has instituted a new policy to require a court order and the recommendation of medical personnel before administering the sedating drugs. The new policy has had a dramatic effect:

Data collected through Freedom of Information Act requests by The Dallas Morning News
show that Immigration and Customs Enforcement sedated only 10 people in
the past fiscal year. Haldol was used in only three cases.

Over
the past six years, through October, federal immigration personnel
sedated 384 deportees, an average of 64 a year, the government
disclosed. Of those cases, 356 involved the use of Haldol.

Here's a little information on Haldol:

Haldol is used to treat schizophrenia and such psychotic symptoms as hallucinations, delusions and hostility.

It is sometimes used in hospital emergency rooms to manage acute agitation and psychosis.

Medical
authorities say the use of Haldol carries potential complications. The
drug can trigger such adverse reactions as muscular spasms and a
condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome that can result in a
coma and even death if left untreated.

Scott Allen, an internist
and co-founder of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights in
Providence, R.I., said he opposes sedation except for deportees with
schizophrenia or other mental illness.

In the past year, ICE has managed to significantly increase deportations and it has achieved this objective without resorting to doping deportees. Defenders of the practice of using the anti-psychotic drugs argued that ICE agents could not do their jobs without the drugs. The evidence now clearly shows otherwise.

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Comments

  1. USC's Avatar
    This is good news. However, the USA would do well to follow in Spain's footsteps and and liberalize its immigration laws:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/world/europe/29spain.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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