Major Events Last Week
Immigration – New Nationwide Policy for Immigration Detainees with Mental Disorders
The Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS) issued a new nationwide policy for immigration detainees with serious mental disorders or conditions that preclude them from effectively representing themselves in immigration proceedings. Under the policy, individuals will be screened for serious mental disorders or conditions when they enter an immigration detention facility. Immigration judges will be able to order competency hearings and appoint lawyers, at government expense, for those who may have serious disorders. The immigration reform bill in the Senate, S.744, includes a provision for providing lawyers for unaccompanied children and for individuals with mental disabilities in immigration courts at government expense.
The federal court for the Central District of California handed down a decision in a class action lawsuit begun in 2010 on behalf of a 33-year old man with intellectual disability who had been held in detention for 5 years after he could not defend himself in a deportation hearing and others in similar circumstances. The court ordered immigration courts in California, Arizona, and Washington to provide legal representation for immigrants with mental disabilities who are in detention facing deportation and who cannot represent themselves. The court ordered bond hearings for anyone with a mental disorder who had been in detention for 6 months or longer.
The federal court decision, the new DOJ and DHS policy, and the immigration reform bill provision address the serious problem of prolonged detention that some immigrants with disabilities experience. Since these individuals cannot represent themselves effectively in immigration courts and do not have a right to counsel, they end up being held in detention centers for long periods of time – months, sometimes years – with no due process protections.
Social Security – House Holds Hearing on Challenges Facing the Next Commissioner of Social Security
Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security, held a hearing on “Challenges Facing the Next Commissioner of Social Security.” The hearing focused on “the challenges facing the next Commissioner, including those related to service delivery capacity, human capital management, strategic planning, information technology, physical infrastructure and the agency’s ability to effectively administer Social Security programs.” Witnesses were The Honorable Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr., Inspector General, Social Security Administration and Daniel Bertoni, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Government Accountability Office. Visit the Committee web site to view testimony as well as archived video.
Social Security – House and Senate Resolutions Oppose Chained Consumer Price Index
In the House, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) has introduced H. Con. Res.34, expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security benefits. Eighty-two Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of this concurrent resolution, which has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. In the Senate, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced S. Con. Res. 15, expressing the sense of Congress that the Chained CPI should not be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security or veterans’ benefits, or to increase the tax burden on low- and middle-income taxpayers. Sixteen Senators have signed on to the concurrent resolution, which was referred to the Committee on Finance. The Arc strongly supports these resolutions.
Registration Now Open for The Arc’s National Convention
Make your plans now to join old friends and make new ones at The Arc’s annual gathering of more than 700 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, professionals, experts in the field, and special guests. This year we’re headed to the East Side of Seattle, August 3-5 for three full days dedicated to Achieving Momentum in the I/DD movement and you’re invited! Registration is now open, so take advantage of early bird discounts along with the best availability of rooms at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.
Taking a cue from our tech-savvy host city, the home of Microsoft’s flagship store, this year’s event is all about innovation! You’ll be treated to technology demonstrations from some of the top names in the communications and technology fields who are constantly coming up with new ways to help people live better, more connected lives. Plus, we have sessions planned on supporting self-advocacy, building our grassroots network, updates from Washington, ACA implementation, and Medicaid managed care. Get more details at www.thearc.org/convention and register today.
Civil Rights/ADA: Olmstead – Department of Justice filed a brief opposing a motion for preliminary injunction in Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled v. Quinn
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief opposing a motion for preliminary injunction in Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled v. Quinn. The plaintiffs in the case argue that Olmstead forbids the State of Illinois from closing institutions for people with developmental disabilities. The plaintiffs are guardians of individuals residing in the Jacksonville Developmental Center and the Murray Developmental Center which the state of Illinois plans to close in 2013. The guardians argue that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives people a right to live in a segregated institution. Illinois wants to shift resources away from institutions in order to expand community based services and supports.
In filing the brief, DOJ is clarifying that nothing in the ADA’s integration mandate, its implementing regulations, or case law confers a right to remain in any given institution.
Other – AAIDD Special Issue Journal on Classification and Naming of “Intellectual Disability”
The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) has published a special issue of its journal Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The special issue focuses on perspectives from the AAIDD community on the current and proposed conventions for classification and naming of intellectual disability (ID). The Arc’s Marty Ford, Annie Acosta, and T.J. Sutcliffe contributed an article, “Beyond Terminology: The Policy Impact of a Grassroots Movement.” The special issue includes a summary of AAIDD’s proposed recommendations for the World Health Organization as it revises its International Classification of Diseases.
Civil Rights/ADA: Employment – Settlement Reached in Employment Discrimination Lawsuit on Behalf of an Employee with an Intellectual Disability
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) entered into a settlement agreement with Alia Corporation, a franchisee with over 20 fast-food chain restaurants in central California, to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of an employee with an intellectual disability. Derrick Morgan was a good employee who was promoted by previous management from crew member to supervisor. When Alia took over, Mr. Morgan was demoted, his hours were cut, and his hourly wages were reduced. He was forced to find other employment and resign.
The three-year consent decree requires Alia to hire an equal employment opportunity monitor, establish anti-discrimination policies and procedures, develop a complaint process, track complaints, and provide training to human resources and management employees. Alia agreed to pay Mr. Morgan $100,000.
Employment – New Data on Barriers to Work Among People with Disabilities
The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued a press release summarizing new data from a Current Population Survey supplement looking at barriers to employment among people with disabilities. As of May, 2012, over half of people with disabilities who were not working reported having one or more barriers to work. The three most commonly self-reported barriers were a person’s own disability, lack of training or education, and the need for special features at the job. About half of respondents with disabilities who worked reported having some difficulty completing their work duties because of their disability. Employed persons with disabilities were more likely (compared with persons with no disability) to have requested a change in their workplace to do their job better, to work at home, and to have flexible work schedules.
Long Term Services and Supports – Keeping the Financing of Long Term Services and Supports a Priority
Even though the CLASS Act has been repealed, The Arc is working with Advance CLASS to keep the issue of long-term services and supports financing on the front burner, and we need your help. One way you can help is by reminding your Members of Congress that this issue impacts millions of Americans and that it is a priority for the disability community. Visit the online petition to register your support.
Paul Marchand Internship in Disability Policy – Applications for the Fall 2013 session due May 15
For 38 years, Paul Marchand was a dedicated disability policy advocate and recognized leader working on behalf of people with I/DD and the entire disability community. Upon his retirement from The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in 2011, The Arc, with substantial contributions from UCP, other organizations, and individuals with whom Paul worked during his decades in Washington, established an internship to honor Paul and to continue to cultivate disability policy advocates. The Paul Marchand Internship Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or summer session which can assist interns pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. See Application information and Internship FAQs for more information.