The Autistic Self Advocacy Network forcefully condemns the Trump Administration’s unconscionable policy of separating immigrant families at the border, and the subsequent incarceration and warehousing of infants and children.
This policy is not mandated by law, but is a deliberate act of cruelty the Administration has chosen to inflict on some of our most vulnerable. The devastating consequences of this policy are felt disproportionately by children with disabilities, and it is likely that their rights under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act are being wholly disregarded. Due to the long history of institutionalization of children with disabilities, the disability community is particularly aware of the inherent harm that institutionalization and family separation does to children. Additionally, abundant evidence shows that undergoing severe trauma such as family separation and incarceration can and does cause disability in and of itself. Over 2,000 children have already been torn from their parents’ arms and put in cages or institutions isolated from the rest of the world. This harm cannot be undone, and this policy cannot be fixed–it must be ended, immediately.
We call on the Trump administration to immediately reverse this policy and reunite affected families. We urge Congress to act, as they have both a constitutional and ethical duty to do, and pass the Keep Families Together Act now. Finally, we join hundreds of other civil and human rights groups in demanding Congress expedite and pass comprehensive immigration reform which includes the DREAM Act and defunds agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, which have shown themselves to be fundamentally incapable of refraining from egregious violence. The world is watching.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community run by and for autistic Americans, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power. Our staff work to educate communities, support self-advocacy in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN’s members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.