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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

The National Council on Independent Living Condemns White House Zero Tolerance Policy

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) strongly condemns the inhumane actions of the Trump Administration that have resulted in the separation of immigrant families at the US/Mexico border.

Contrary to recent statements from the President, this policy is not required by law. Rather, the horrifying separations of immigrant children from their parents are the direct result of his Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. As a result of this policy, children have been torn from their parents, warehoused in overcrowded and isolated institutions, and forced to face inconceivable harm and abuse. The Administration’s policy is cruel, inhumane, and detrimental to the safety and well-being of both immigrant children and parents.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingAs a national disability rights organization, we are extremely concerned about the disabled children who are being separated from their parents and detained. These children are impacted disproportionately by this policy and are facing unthinkable trauma. We are also concerned for the children – and parents – who may develop disabilities due to the horror of what they are being forced to endure. The trauma they are experiencing is unquestionably causing irreversible harm.

The immigrant and disabled communities are inextricably linked. Many immigrants are disabled or have disabled family members – in fact, disability is the reason some of these people left their countries for the US. Many immigrants come to the US for better opportunities, including better treatment and support for disability and chronic conditions; sometimes they are trying to get to the US to simply survive. But immigration law has long been discriminatory against disabled immigrants, and they face a disproportionate risk for detainment and deportation. In all nearly settings – including detention centers – disabled immigrants often face insurmountable difficulties to accessing the supports and services they need.

NCIL stands in solidarity with the immigrant communities and others who oppose this immoral policy, and the families being traumatized by this policy. Children are not meant to serve as negotiating tactics, and the infliction of harm should not be used to send a message. We condemn the inhumane actions of this Administration.

After significant pressure, the President has signed an Executive Order (EO) to end the practice of separating families. But that won’t be enough, because there is no clear plan to reunite the 2,000 separated children and their parents immediately, and the EO still leaves the dangerous zero tolerance policy in place. Simply put, yesterday’s Executive Order is not the solution. We call on the President to take further action and end his zero tolerance policy immediately and completely.

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