I sent the below to a listserv of disability advocates and colleagues after I sent them an email with the article I posted earlier. I work in the disability community as an advocate. My colleagues are largely white. We’ll see how this pans out. I expect there to be little to no discussion from this from my colleagues.
A quick google search reveals a lot about Immigration and Disability.
I’m still reading and learning, but the general bias is that caring for people with disabilities is costly. That seems to be the argument on the forefront of this issue. This touches on the ableist stigma that people with disabilities aren’t able to be productive or contribute to the economy. The majority of deportation cases of people with disabilities seems to be those with mental health disabilities. The stigmas of validity around mental health disabilities are being perpetuated by this as well. It also touches on the immigration issue by assuming that migrants are more draining to society than contributors to it. The New York Times article below mentions that some countries could care for these individuals if they went back. Which, is definitely a negative assumption and probably a false one. Many illegal migrants come from nations that are not capitalist and do not have resources; when that is coupled with disability culture especially in countries of color, there is a much harsher perception of how and if people with disabilities should even be treated, let alone if those resources are actually available.
So why should we care? How is this relevant to our work?
Addressing the issue of immigration and disability should matter to us because it is using the deportation system to perpetuate ideas of ableism; placing a value on individuals with disabilities that affect social perceptions. We should care because immigration status is also a class issue, and in a community that has long focused on the success stories of people with disabilities that were born with the privilege of having the resources to succeed, we need to address the assumption that having a disability is not “cost effective”. Especially, as we have been pushing back on a system that year after year is cutting the scarce resources that the poor have. Also, in the ACLU report Deportation by Default “two to five percent of immigration detainees in 2008 had a “serious mental illness,” while approximately 10 to 16 percent of detainees had experienced “some form of encounter with a mental health professional or the mental health system.” It is pretty clear that the issue of lawful detainment and deportation is a disability social justice issue.
Here are more articles I have found. Keep in mind that below are just cases that actually get media attention.:
Disabilities: A Deterrent to Deportation? (Huffington Post)
Nowhere to Go: Patients Linger in Hospitals, at High Cost (New York Times)
American Citizen with Mental Illness Deported to Mexico (ILW.com)
Family with disabled child can stay in Canadian (Not a US article but still relevant)
Family fights disabled son’s deportation (Star Advisor)
Summary of ACLU and Human Rights Watch Report (Disabled Feminist)
The Deportation of Jamaicans with Mental Health Disabilities (Georgetown University Law Center)
Don’t Deport Mental Immigrants with Mental Health Disabilities (Huffington Post)
Deportation Process Penalizes Mentally Ill Immigrants (Psychiatry Online)
“No Defectives Need Apply”: Disability and Deportation (Oxford Journals)
Post email: I wish I would have talked about this link to the folx I sent it to in my follow up email. If we take Quelino’s story, we recognize that he became disabled because of capitalism, because he is from a poor country with no resources. So, yes, the US is accountable for him regardless of his status. He was injured on the job, contributing to the US economy.
Right now the listserv is focused on the California State Budget, which was just released by the governor. Which is important as well, just not surprising.