In The Politics of Autism, I explain how the issue connects with so many other issues. Immigration is an example.
Health care groups say they’ve observed other immigrant families making similar choices, and they think it will accelerate if a proposed change to green card eligibility becomes law. Under the proposed change, if family members receive government services — even if those family members are citizens — it would ding the applicants’ chances of approval for permanent residency.
“We are seeing families having to make this impossible choice,” said Maria Hernandez, the founder of Vela, a nonprofit in Austin that helps parents who have children with disabilities.
In the first year of the Trump administration, Central Texas experienced an uptick in immigration raids and deportations. Since then, Hernandez said, a lot of people in the immigrant community have been making critical choices out of fear.
“It’s out of fear of deportation,” she said. “It’s out of fear of having their children being penalized in some way and potentially losing a parent that until this point has been their fierce advocate.”
Hernandez said parents who have children with disabilities have told her that without Medicaid they’ll rely on emergency rooms “as needed.”
“We know that that is not a good plan for kids that for forever have been followed by a neurologist because they have seizures or have been going to occupational therapy for years and are finally making progress,” she said.
Approximately 10 million citizen children in the U.S. have at least one non-citizen parent.