Ian Patrick, FISM News
A Wall Street Journal report says that the Biden administration is reportedly considering granting payments to migrant families who were separated when illegally crossing the border during President Trump’s term under his “zero tolerance” policy.
Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union are in talks with the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services to determine the amount of these payments as well as other possible concessions.
Details on the specific negotiations are murky, as no one involved is allowed to discuss it openly. However, reports suggest that the current amount floating around is somewhere near $450,000 per person, meaning a separated parent and child would earn $900,000 combined.
WSJ said that around 5,500 children were separated from their families at the border under the Trump administration and would be potential recipients in the settlement. However, not all separated families may get payments, as discussions are also revolving around there being certain conditions that must be met in order to receive a payout.
The ACLU lawyers are advocating that these families experienced both mental and physical harm under this policy. Discussions have been ongoing for at least a couple of months as the ACLU brought up the issue in January of this year according to a statement from that time.
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) October 29, 2021
The New York Post says if all families were paid under the current terms, taxpayers would pay upwards of $1 billion.
The amount of these payments, as well as the payout itself, was met with disdain from the Republican Party, with many lawmakers pointing out what they deem as absurdities in the agreement.
For example, Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) points out that these families would be making more than the next of kin for a US service member who was killed in action. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) likened the gesture to paying a burglar for “psychological trauma” experienced during the crime. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) simply said “Absolutely not.”
Biden wants to pay illegal immigrants $450,000 for their hardship while breaking our laws.
For perspective, if a service member is killed in action, their next of kin gets an insurance payment of $400,000.
Let that sink in. https://t.co/J3kuhDhyD5
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) October 28, 2021
It's unthinkable to pay a burglar who broke into your home for the ‘psychological trauma’ they endured during the crime. Yet the Biden admin wants to reward migrants who illegally entered our country with up to $450,000 each for just that reason. Insanity. https://t.co/XNTFs9KkLo
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) October 28, 2021
Absolutely not. https://t.co/g419yTMjjR
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 28, 2021
President Trump took a hardline stance against illegal immigration during his term and part of this stance centered on his “zero tolerance” policy. While it was in place, parents of illegal immigrants caught at the border were formally charged, while children were either sent to relatives in the U.S., foster care homes, or government facilities.
Trump made changes to his policy during his tenure to reduce the amount of family separation, while still maintaining control over the border. He did this in response to harsh backlash towards the policy at the time.
Biden terminated the zero-tolerance policy under an executive order. While many liberals praised this move, many see it as a key lacking component in his administration’s incredibly loose border protection policies. Encounters and arrests at the US-Mexico southern border have reached record highs in less than a year of his presidency.
Despite the anger and ire pointed at Trump over a border separation policy, both Biden and Obama have been known to use similar tactics as well.
Biden has come under fire for his use of border facilities to house children who have illegally crossed, with photos in the early months of his presidency showing the dangerous and unsafe conditions these families lived in for weeks.
President Obama is also known to have separated children from their parents in some cases. A popular photo of a crying kid in a cage which circulated during Trump’s tenure was actually taken when Obama was president. With this evidence, the political right have fought back against the idea that Trump was solely responsible for this separation practice.