Lawsuit alleges migrant child prescribed antidepressants in US shelter after being separated from family
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A lawsuit filed on Friday alleges that a migrant child who was detained and separated from his family after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is being prescribed antidepressants while the government delays his release. 

The 12-year-old boy at the center of the lawsuit, reported on Friday by The Washington Post, reportedly showed signs of depression after "being kept from his family," federal contractors wrote in his file, which was obtained by the Post. 


The boy reportedly has an adult sister in Los Angeles, but the government has declined to release him into her custody, according to the lawsuit, saying that her home may not be suitable and that the boy is not "psychologically sound" for release from the Texas psychiatric facility where he is currently being held.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in California, estimates that hundreds of migrant children are still being held amid government medical and family member assessments, despite a federal judge's order to quickly reunite them with their families.

According to the Post, the lawsuit alleges that by holding children in such a way, the government is depriving them of due process. Leecia Welch, a lawyer for the National Center for Youth Law — one of the groups behind the lawsuit — told the Post that such detentions have become common for migrant children.

"Basic due-process rights for these children are really being trampled on right now by the Trump administration," Welch said.

"Child after child has told us the same story of being awaken at 4 a.m., and flown across the country to be detained without being told why, let alone a judicial determination as to why. What [the Office of Refugee Resettlement] is doing is saying it can incarcerate children and throw away the key for as long as it likes."

The Trump administration has come under fire in recent weeks for its "zero tolerance" policy that all people who cross illegally into the U.S. through Mexico be prosecuted. That policy has led to thousands of children being separated from their parents and guardians.

Facing public and political pressure, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE signed an executive order last week allowing children to be detained with their parents. But, under a previous settlement, minors can only be held for 20 days, leaving questions as to how the government plans to enforce that order.

A federal judge in San Diego also responded this week to a lawsuit over the family separations, ordering the government to quickly reunite migrant children with their families.