The Administration Policy of Family Separation at the Border is Morally Abhorrent—and Violates IDEA, ADA Laws

The following statement concerning family separation at the US/Mexico border was released yesterday by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).

Statement Calling for a Halt to the Practice of Separating Children from their Parents

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) exists to protect the rights of children with disabilities.  The Administration’s inhumane and intolerable practice of separating undocumented children from their parents, who know the children best and who speak their familial language, ensures that the rights of children with disabilities are not protected. All children impacted and interned have rights under federal law. Children with disabilities are covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, yet the system in place that forces separation does not allow for full disclosure and understanding of what needs such children may have nor does the current structure allow for the identification of suspected disabilities as required by IDEA and Section 504. Equally as disturbing is the fact that separation is occurring when the research is clear that such forced separation causes complex stress in these young victims.  Such toxic stress results in physiological changes in the brain which can disable a child’s ability to learn, alter the physiology of a child’s developing brain, and inhibit the performance of daily activities such as thinking, reading, and learning. COPAA calls upon the Administration to halt the practice of separating families now and work immediately to find humane and legal means to address the immigration challenges we have at our nation’s border
— Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), June 19, 2018

COPAA is a national advocacy organization promoting the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families. The Law Offices of Regina Skyer & Associates are proud members of COPAA, and our firm’s partner Jesse Cole Cutler is a board member.

If you are looking for ways to help families separated at the border, the Texas Tribune has published a comprehensive list of respected organizations who are engaged in that work and the form of assistance they are seeking.