Wednesday, January 22, 2020
From Journal Review
Federal appellate judges closely questioned attorneys for the government and Native American tribes Wednesday over whether a law meant to preserve Native American families and culture unconstitutionally intrudes into state adoption issues.
It was the second time in a year that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was considering the future of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. A three-judge panel of the appellate court upheld the act in August .
Opponents of the law — including non-native families who have tried to adopt American Indian children — sought and got a full court re-hearing. Sixteen judges heard the latest arguments.
Aside from strictly legal issues, the case sparks strong emotions. Matthew McGill, representing families challenging the law, told the court that one set of would-be adoptive parents had a child “pried out of their arms because she was not an Indian.”
Outside the courthouse, Rosa Soto Alvarez, of Tuscon, Arizona, held onto the flag of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. She said the ICWA helped her and her three siblings get adopted by a Native American family after her mother's suicide when she was 11.
“Because I grew up in a Yaqui home, and knowing our culture and tradition, I was elected to be in tribal leadership,” said Alvarez, a member of the tribal council.
Read more here