Following the draft notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are legally residing in the United States as well as people with I/DD who are hoping to legally immigrate, The Arc released the following statement:
“We are facing a civil rights crisis in our nation and people with disabilities are in the crosshairs with the proposed rule released by the Department of Homeland Security. If finalized and administered as is, this rule would discriminate against immigrants with disabilities, making it harder to legally enter or remain in the country. To deport individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are in our country legally or prevent them from immigrating, goes against the values of our nation.
“At The Arc we believe people should have a fair opportunity to legally enter and reside in the United States and become a citizen, without restrictions based on disability. This includes those needing protection as refugees, asylees, and victims of human trafficking.
“Focusing on an individual’s need for support is a form of discrimination against people with disabilities we have seen before. But Congress, in the past, addressed the problem by ensuring that people with intellectual disability are provided accommodations as they try to enter our country legally, become citizens, and achieve the American dream like their peers without disabilities. Broadening the criteria for excluding or deporting immigrants based on need for support will harm people with disabilities and their families who have much to contribute to our society.
“If a family is otherwise eligible to enter or remain in our country, they shouldn’t be turned away or turned out because their child or another family member has a disability and may need to access government services to live and participate in the community.
“We will be offering comments to this proposed rule and hope other organizations and individuals will do the same. It would be disgraceful if this were to be adopted as a final rule. We also call on Members of Congress, as they have done in the past, to stand up for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families as they seek inclusion in America,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.