In June a federal lawsuit was filed stemming from this practise by the American Civil Liberties Union.
56 detainees were sedated during their removals from the United States. Most of those had no prior history of mental problems.
The Associated Press revealed that an internal memo issued on Wednesday from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents must now be granted a court order prior to administering drugs “to facilitate an alien’s removal.” The memo was issued by John Torres and further stated that there are to be no exceptions to this new policy.
To be granted such an order the ICE must prove that the deportee has a history of physical resistance to being removed or be a threat to themselves.
“Medical sedation will only be considered as a last resort,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
The class action lawsuit is still pending. The suit follows after a some immigrants in Southern California laid claims to have been drugged or threatened to have drugs used on them during deportation attempts.
We are very happy that the government recognized that their barbaric sedation policy was wrong,” ACLU lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham said. “This has been a shameful chapter in the country’s immigration history.”
ACLU is going forward with the lawsuit hoping to learn more details. They hope to learn how sedation was used and who it was used on.
Amadou Diouf, one of the two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said that he was sedated by injection on a plane that was to carry him home to his native Senegal after overstaying a student visa. He had asked to be allowed to talk to the pilot to inform him that he had a judge’s order temporarily staying his deportation.
Diouf said escorting ICE agents gave him the injection after he asked to speak with the plane’s pilot to tell him that he had a judge’s order temporarily staying his deportation.
Last year there was Senate testimony that 33 of 56 deportees were injected with psychotropic drugs without a prior history of problems. Julie Meyers, assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that the 36 demonstrated “combative behaviour.”