LOS ANGELES – Two immigrants have settled a federal lawsuit in which they claimed they were forcibly drugged during failed efforts by U.S. authorities to deport them.
Amadou Diouf will receive $50,000, while Raymond Soeoth will get $5,000 and be allowed to remain in the United States for at least two years, according to Monday's agreement.
Immigration officials have acknowledged that 56 deportees were given psychotropic drugs in 2006 and 2007 even though most had no history of mental problems.
"Settling doesn't mean we admit wrongdoing," said agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice. "The settlement and the new policy are part of our commitment to a safe and healthy environment" for detainees.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a policy change this month requiring agents to get a judge's permission to sedate deportees. Officials must show the deportees had a history of physical resistance to being removed or are a danger to themselves.
Neither man had histories of psychological problems or violence.
Diouf's deportation to Senegal is on appeal. Soeoth, who is from Indonesia, and his wife recently lost an immigration appeal and were again facing deportation before the lawsuit settlement.
Diouf said he was not pleased with the settlement but agreed to drop it because Soeoth was in danger of deportation.
"If the government were forced to go to court, they would have to answer for what they did," he told the Los Angeles Daily Journal. "Now the government has changed its policy, but they aren't really admitting to being guilty of anything at all."