Equal Protection for Indian Children
|Topics:||Civil Rights • Federalism & Separation of Powers|
|Sponsors:||Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group|
Goldwater Institute Attorney Aditya Dynar and Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur write in the Wall Street Journal:
It is hard to imagine the anguish that Rusty and Summer Page must be experiencing. Their 6-year-old daughter Lexi, whom they had raised since taking her in as a foster child four years ago, was wrenched away Monday and sent from her home in Santa Clarita, Calif., to live with another family hundreds of miles away in Utah—solely because of Lexi’s race.
You read that right. Lexi is 1.5% Choctaw. A 40-year-old federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act requires government officials to take children away from caring foster families and place them with Native American families they may never have even met. Simply because Lexi has a distant Native American ancestor, a Choctaw great-great-great-great grandparent on her father’s side, she was taken from the Pages, who want to adopt her but aren’t Indian. State and tribal authorities sent her from California to live with a couple in Utah instead.
You can read the full article here.
When an abused child is removed from his home and placed in foster care or made available for adoption, judges are required to make a decision about where he will live based on his best interest. Except for Native American children. Courts are bound by federal law to disregard a Native American child’s best interest and place him in a home with other Native Americans, even if that home is unsafe.
Last year, the Institute filed a class action lawsuit to challenge core provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The Institute also released an investigative report and video that documents how federal law leaves Native American children with fewer protections under the law than all other American children, and the serious consequences that have resulted from this unequal treatment.
Both Lexi's case and the Institute's class-action lawsuit were featured yesterday on Fox Business's Varney & Co.
You can learn more at equalprotection.org.