ADAPT Statement on the Separation of Immigrant Families at the US Border

ADAPT condemns the Trump administration’s acts against children crossing the border with their families. Some of these children were already disabled as their families led them into the United States. In all probability, all will become temporarily disabled as they live through the trauma inflicted by the President’s policies and as they experience the neglect and abuse rampant in institutional settings. Some will live with lifelong physical, cognitive and psychological disabilities caused or made worse by our government’s mistreatment of them. The courses of their lives have been profoundly altered by these injustices. These are our community’s children, and we demand that they and every other ICE detainee be guaranteed the care they deserve while in federal custody.

ADAPT is a national grassroots disability rights group. We are as diverse as America and we are unified in our opposition to mistreatment under the guise of care.

American history is filled with the ripping apart of Black and Indigenous families, from the selling of Black slave children and the forcible removal and placement of Native American children into missionary schools and White families to the familial destruction due to welfare policies and the school to prison pipeline. America splits families of color apart daily.

Similarly, America mistreats disabled families. Disabled people have been forced from our homes and loved ones and into institutions, or have been forced to surrender children. We have been denied access to caregivers and others we are able to communicate with and who are able to understand us. ADAPTers know the trauma inherent in being ripped from one’s family and placed in institutional care.

This is the America we live in, and it is the America within which current events will play out.

Children are not responsible for decisions the adults in their lives may have made. They should be cherished, not treated as pawns. Children arrested by ICE must, to the greatest extent possible, be allowed to maintain their existing relationships while their families undergo the legal process. Where this is not possible, they must be placed temporarily in the community until they can be reunited with loved ones. They must be guaranteed caregivers with the cultural and linguistic competence and nurturing ability to minimize the short- and long-term, harms they suffer. Where mental health care is needed, it must be made available, immediately.

ADAPT is in solidarity with immigrants, who make our country stronger, including immigrant children who have no way to fight in a strange country they did not chose to come to. We support families desperate to stay together and protect that most precious of humanity’s resources, our children!