Summary of Argument

ICWA was motivated by good intentions—but today, it imposes race-based mandates and prohibitions that make it harder for states to protect Native American children against abuse, and extraordinarily difficult for them to find the loving, permanent, adoptive homes they often need. This harms children who are part of America’s most at-risk demographic—and in a manner that violates due process and the limits of our federalist system. ICWA is complicated, and discussions of it in legal briefs, law reviews, and popular media are replete with inaccuracy and falsehood. That’s unsurprising, because the historical injustices ICWA aimed to remedy generate intense emotions that can obscure careful reasoning. This brief therefore dispassionately addresses, in question-and-answer format, some common misconceptions, confusions, and falsehoods surrounding ICWA.