Immigrant may be sedated before deportation

The Associated Press
Saturday May 05, 2001

SACRAMENTO — A federal attorney is suing the Immigration and Naturalization Service over the case of an illegal immigrant whom the agency has said it might sedate before deporting to China. 

A federal public defender filed suit in Sacramento that would prevent Chinese national Bao Hua Dong from “being forcibly drugged” before an INS deportation officer puts her on a plane. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Linda Harter, the assistant public defender who filed the suit. 

Harter said in the suit that the INS has threatened to sedate Dong, who is held nearby in a Yuba County jail, before agents again try to deport her. No date has been set for her return to China. 

Last November, the INS tried to put Dong, 26, on a United Airlines flight originating in San Francisco. But a gate attendant refused to let her aboard because she was hysterical, according to court documents. 

Dong tried to enter the country illegally at San Francisco International Airport in December 1998, using a falsified passport of a 40-year-old Japanese woman. 

A lawyer representing the INS said the agency would not sedate Dong without permission from a court. 

“Sometimes it is necessary to sedate an alien, but we always obtain a court order first,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Glyndell E. Williams told a U.S. District Court judge at a hearing Tuesday. Judge William B. Shubb ruled that he did not have jurisdiction over the matter. 

INS officials would not discuss the case in detail. INS spokeswoman Sharon Rummery told the San Jose Mercury News that though she does not know of such a case, “when the person is violent or will hurt themselves or others, then under supervision of a doctor ... it would be necessary.”