For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
Washington, DC – Internment is a strong word with powerful associations. It is an appropriate one to use when a large number of people from the same region, who are disfavored by those in power, are being held in camps, tents, and institutions.
We need to call this what it is.
According to the New York Times, despite the fact that the Trump Administration’s child separation policy has ostensibly ended, the number of migrant children being held in detention has increased five- fold since May 2017, from 2,400 at that time to 12,800 now. According to this report and others, children are being held longer in institutional settings and tent cities due to intentional changes in federal reunification policies, and this swell is expected to increase. We are told that a tent city in Tornillo, Texas is expected to add thousands more beds soon, at a cost to the government of 386 million dollars.
This moves us backwards after so many years of progress away from segregation. The disability community knows well the disastrous impact that long institutional stays and family separation has on the well-being of children. Not surprisingly, many of those currently interned have disabilities, some that will likely be developed or exacerbated as a result of long term institutionalization.
Protection and Advocacy agencies have begun monitoring facilities where these children and youth are held, and are preparing for the continued influx.
Calling out what is currently happening by its proper name is only the first step. These are children now interred by our government, and we all have an obligation to ensure their safety.
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.