Last night, news broke of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s cruel and indefensible response to the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome who was separated from her mother as part of the current administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy at the U.S.-Mexico border. AAPD called for an apology, which Lewandowski has refused to give. His remarks brought a new wave of national attention to this abhorrent policy that directly impacts the disability community and should be of grave concern to every American.
The American Association of People with Disabilities stands with the disability, immigrant, and broader civil and human rights communities in condemning the Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border. This “zero tolerance” approach has rightly inspired outrage from across the political spectrum and should be opposed from all sides. Children with disabilities are being harmed by this policy daily and have been for months; the Texas Tribune recently reported that a 16-year-old boy with autism and epilepsy was separated from his grandmother when they attempted to seek asylum at a port of entry 10 months ago. This is despite the administration’s claims that family separations only began recently and only affect families attempting to enter the country outside of ports of entry. Add to that the widespread concern from medical professionals about the “toxic stress” and “irreparable harm” caused by these traumatic experiences, and it is clear why the disability community must continue to denounce the administration’s family separation policy.
Today, President Trump announced he will sign an executive order to end this policy and keep families together. We call on the President to sign this order immediately and Congress to ensure a permanent end to these types of cruel and inhumane policies.
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The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization, AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the over 56 million Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation.