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Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network Statement on #FamiliesBelongTogether

In May 2018 the United States, under the administration of Donald Trump, implemented a policy to forcibly seize minor children from their parents when undocumented families are apprehended crossing the border. When these families, who cross the border to enter the US in hopes of seeking asylum, are caught, officials charge the parents with a criminal misdemeanor, detain them, and take away their children to undisclosed locations for an unspecified length of time.

This sharp detour from established immigration policy has obliterated numerous families, traumatized thousands of children, and outraged people around the globe as devastating images and multimedia of children who have been ripped from their parents and callously relocated without consent.

In a six week period, this nearly 3,000 children, including infants, have been stolen from their parents and placed in “facilities” where they have been housed in crowded cage-like structures, existing unaccompanied minor residential programs, former shelters, hastily opened establishments in leased facilities, and refugee foster placements.

Both parents and children are unclear of one another’s whereabouts and are provided little to no updates on one another’s well-being. Although the majority of families have been apprehended in Texas, these stolen children have been shipped haphazardly to various locations around the country – as far away as New York. These families, who are primarily Latinx (Central American, specifically), are typically fleeing violence in hopes of being granted the opportunity to hopefully begin to develop a new life in the US – only to be both dehumanized and re-traumatized by these practices.

Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN) categorically condemns this voluntary, inhumane and unethical practice. We call for the parents’ release, immediate reunification of these families, and immediate cessation of this unethical policy. In addition, AWN condemns any existing or planned strategies for now or the future in which families are detained together in what can truthfully be described as modern day internment camps.

This is a detestable and intentional attack on an extremely vulnerable population as well as flagrant disregard for humanity and a seemingly deliberate misinterpretation and twisting of existing guidelines (i.e. the Flores act). As a nation with a lengthy and shameful history of taking children, especially children of color and/or children with disabilities, from their parents, it is a travesty that our country’s leadership would choose to continue on that vicious path.

AWN considers these actions to be a clear violation of both the children and their parents’ human rights and autonomy, and the dishonest and inflammatory rhetoric used by this administration to justify the unjustifiable are appalling but are sadly in-line with the bigoted, divisive, hateful atmosphere being cultivated by this administration.

AWN believes that #FamiliesBelongTogether and urges our followers to reject the anti-immigrant propaganda being spouted by this administration and to denounce these sordid actions. Additionally, we encourage the public to strongly consider supporting one or more of the multiple organizations that are working on behalf of these families and/or are advocating for an end to this atrocity and a change in policy. We have provided a link below that contains some resources for rendering your support to #KeepFamiliesTogether

Link: how to help