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Mon Feb 17, 2020, 01:08 AM

The government required him to see a therapist. He thought his words would be confidential. Now, the

Source: Washington Post


The government required him to see a therapist. He thought his words would be confidential. Now, the traumatized migrant may be deported.

By Hannah Dreier Feb. 15, 2020

It was time for another hearing in the ongoing efforts of the U.S. government to deport a Honduran teenager named Kevin Euceda, who had already been in detention for more than two years. In a Northern Virginia courtroom, U.S. immigration judge Helaine Perlman peered at a TV screen as a detainee came into blurry view: a slight 19-year-old with deep dimples and a V-shaped scar on his forehead. "Buenos días," Kevin said, hoping this was the day he would find out about his request for asylum, and then tried to follow along as Perlman began to explain the latest twist.

“I had made a decision granting your request — but the government disagreed with it,” she said. “They want me to make a new decision.”

Kevin was watching from a remote detention center. On one side of the judge, he could see his lawyers, ready to argue that he should be freed immediately. Across from them was a lawyer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), there to argue that Kevin should be deported. And in front of them all, inside a thick folder, was an old report from a shelter for immigrant children that was the reason the long-running matter of Kevin Euceda existed at all: “Youth reports history of physical abuse, neglect, and gang affiliation in country of origin. Unaccompanied child self-disclosed selling drugs. Unaccompanied child reports being part of witnessing torturing and killing, including dismemberment of body parts,” the report said.

The person who had signed it: A therapist at a government shelter for immigrant children who had assured Kevin that their sessions would be confidential. Instead, the words Kevin spoke had traveled from the shelter to one federal agency and then another, followed him through three detention centers, been cited in multiple ICE filings arguing for his detention and deportation, and now, in the fall of 2019, were about to be used against him once more.

This kind of information sharing was part of a Trump administration strategy that is technically legal but which professional therapy associations say is a profound violation of patient confidentiality. To bolster its policy of stepped up enforcement, the administration is requiring that notes taken during mandatory therapy sessions with immigrant children be passed onto ICE, which can then use those reports against minors in court. Intimate confessions, early traumas, half-remembered nightmares — all have been turned into prosecutorial weapons, often without the consent of the therapists involved, and always without the consent of the minors themselves, in hearings where the stakes can be life and death.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/immigration-therapy-reports-ice/

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