TAKE ACTION: Report abuse of 250 children in family detention camps overdosed with vaccines
On July 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

This past 4th of July weekend it was discovered that around a group of about 250 refugee children imprisoned in “family detention” camps in Texas (with 2,000 other children and their mothers) were “mistakenly” over-vaccinated with Hepatitis A vaccinations.

This is a nationwide call to take action now by reporting this abuse to the Texas Abuse Hotline.  

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website states:

Report Abuse

Call our Abuse Hotline toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nationwide, or report with our secure website and get a response within 24 hours.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a central place to report:

  • Child abuse and neglect.
  • Abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation of the elderly or adults with disabilities living at home.
  • Abuse of children in child-care facilities or treatment centers
  • Abuse of adults and children who live in state facilities or are being helped by programs for people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities. These are run by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) or Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).

Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony. Time frames for investigating reports are based on the severity of the allegations. Reporting suspected abuse makes it possible for a family to get help.

Please join a growing number of people across the U.S. by calling and reporting this abuse.

Background

On Saturday, July 4th, 2015 the American Immigration Council released this statement regarding the discovery of medical negligence:

Vaccine Overdose to Detained Children Another Sign that Family Detention Must End
Washington D.C. – This weekend, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (Council) learned that, recently, medical personnel at the detention center in Dilley, Texas that holds nearly 2,000 children and their mothers mistakenly gave adult-strength Hepatitis A vaccinations to approximately 250 children.

“Volunteer attorneys at Dilley, as well as those at similar detention centers in Karnes, TX, Berks, PA and the previous facility in Artesia, NM, have long noted disturbing patterns of what appears to be inadequate health care for the women and children. This latest permutation is beyond appalling—it is putting children at risk not just for short-term reactions but for unknown long-term risks,” said Crystal Williams, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“Imprisoning children and their mothers was wrong when it was started a year ago, and is wrong today. Just because the detention camps have no bars on the windows does not make them any less like a prison. Children have been forced to sleep with the lights on, are subject to intrusive checks regularly throughout the night, and have been dragged from their beds at 4:00 am to be given shots while their mothers must stand helplessly by without being told what is going on or being allowed a say in the matter,” Ms. Williams added.

“This latest healthcare failure at Dilley is one of many indicators that family detention is just not workable. The Administration has recently acknowledged the need for ‘substantial changes’ to their practice of detaining families. It needs to abandon the effort entirely, and return to a more humane and cost effective system where families are released, on alternatives when necessary, to ensure the safety and well-being of the children. This needs to happen now, before any further damage is done to their physical and mental health,” stated Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.

AILA and the Council have been partnering with two other organizations, CLINIC and RAICES, to provide volunteer legal services to detained women and children in Dilley and Karnes. Our staff and volunteers on the ground work with the women and children every day and have witnessed the deleterious effects of detention on the families.”

Human rights abuses have been reported in these facilities since they opened.  Virginia Raymond, a volunteer attorney representing several mothers and their children inside these camps, gave the following statement:

“In the fall, my reports to the State of Texas of child abuse at the “hieleras” in McAllen and at the Karnes detention center — that I made because the law clearly requires me to do so — went nowhere because the facilities were not licensed as child care facilities in the State of Texas. Now that ICE is making an effort to license these facilities, this means that the State of Texas has the responsibility to investigate abuse and neglect at the facilities.

Those of us who represent refugees who have suffered abuse in their own country have all heard asylum officers and judges ask our clients the question “Did you report the abuse?” many times. And we know that the answer, “No, because I did not think anyone would do anything,” is not terribly persuasive.

A difference between that frequent scenario with our clients and the situation of advocates/people in Texas, we have a clear duty to report abuse. No exceptions. This responsibility to report abuse and neglect is constant whether or not the authorities investigate.” […]

“I called the Texas Abuse Hotline to report the abuse. I am required by law to do so.

‘Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS
. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony. Time frames for investigating reports are based on the severity of the allegations. Reporting suspected abuse makes it possible for a family to get help.’

I only had the information on the AILA/American Immigration Council e-mail and I encourage any other person with knowledge of the overdose or improper vaccine to call the abuse hotline. I have just spoken with an take worker named Shayla, whose identification number is 1154. She assigned my report the number 66276190.

Anyone with additional information concerning abuse or neglect of children at Dilley may want to reference these numbers, but you do not need to do so. You also have the responsibility call in a separate report if you know of separate incidents of abuse at Dilley or Karnes or anyone else.”

We are asking the solidarity of individuals and groups across the country to report this abuse.

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