NDLA calls for disability support of pro-immigrant policy and programs

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Coalition urges Congress to pass a Clean DREAM Act

The National Disability Leadership Alliance calls on the United States Congress to develop and pass into law the DREAM Act, legislation that would restore protections and services under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA Program gives around 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children the opportunity to work and study in this country without the threat of deportation.  Recipients of DACA have registered with the United States, submitted to deep background checks, and are engaging with their communities.

DACA is critical for immigrants with disabilities. Some immigrants with disabilities are in the United States in order to receive disability related supports and care that are not available in their country of origin.  Without the program, DACA recipients who are disabled immigrants face the threat of medical deportation.  Also, some DACA recipients are home care workers or personal assistants, providing critical support for people with disabilities. Without that support, people with disabilities would lose their link to live in their own homes instead of institutions.

Often times, immigration policy and proposed legislation divides immigrants into two categories, protecting one group while demonizing the other, and subjecting the other to punitive enforcement measures.  NDLA supports what is referred to as the “Clean DREAM Act,” legislation that extends protections under DACA and legislation that does not include new, compromise enforcement measures. The National Disability Leadership Alliance calls on Congress to pass a Clean Dream Act, and we call on Congress to protect all immigrants from retaliatory threats of deportation and immigration raids.

The need for a Clean DREAM Act comes in the wake of the White House announcement to rescind DACA, and the needlessly imposed October 5 deadline for DACA renewals that expire by March 2018.   The announcement, made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on September 5, threatens to disrupt the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and their families, as well as the social and financial communities in which those people and their families live and participate.

The White House decision was widely condemned by individuals, leaders, and organizations, inside and outside of the disability community.  The National Disability Leadership Alliance joins those voices that have expressed outrage over the White House’ failure to support immigrants and immigrants with disabilities.  The decision to rescind DACA is the latest in a list of decisions and actions that reinforce and promote bias and discrimination against immigrants and people of color.

The National Disability Leadership Alliance calls on disability advocates and disability-led organizations to support immigrants with disabilities and immigrant-rights coalitions in order to resist biased and xenophobic policies, and to support policies that promote the independence and self-determination of immigrants with disabilities.

About NDLA

National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA) is a national cross-disability coalition that represents the authentic voice of people with disabilities.  NDLA is led by 15 national organizations run by people with disabilities with identifiable grassroots constituencies around the country. The NDLA steering committee includes: ADAPT, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the American Council of the Blind, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Hearing Loss Association of America, Little People of America, the National Association of the Deaf, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities, Not Dead Yet, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, and the United Spinal Association.