White House clarifies Biden statement on migrant payments

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


On Thursday, President Joe Biden’s staffers clarified his position on paying migrant families who were separated at the southern U.S. border during the presidency of Donald Trump, after Biden’s statements at a Wednesday press conference led to confusion. 

The White House said that Biden was not against paying migrant families, only that a figure cited to him by a Fox News reporter was inaccurate. 

During a Wednesday press conference, President Biden was asked if a recent Wall Street Journal report – one that claimed the administration was considering paying between $450,000 and $1 million apiece to migrant families separated at the border – was accurate. 

“That’s not going to happen,” the President replied. He also alluded to the fact that the reporting was “garbage”. 

The statements left doubt as to whether President Biden opposed payments of such a high amount or payments generally. 

In her Thursday press briefing, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president meant only to question the validity of the Wall Street Journal’s figures. 

“[If] it saves taxpayer dollars…[then] the President is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the U.S. government,” Jeane-Pierre said

She also tried to put the blame of the lawsuits on former President Biden by saying that settling with families would help, “[put] the disastrous history of the previous administration’s use of zero tolerance and family separation behind us.”

She later added, “DOJ made clear to the plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land.”

According to a statement from the ACLU, which filed a class-action lawsuit in 2019 seeking damages for separated families, they believed that Biden’s comments were rather due to the possibility that he had not have been informed of negotiations that had already taken place:

President Biden may not have been fully briefed about the actions of his very own Justice Department as it carefully deliberated and considered the crimes committed against thousands of families separated from their children as an intentional governmental policy. But if he follows through on what he said, the president is abandoning a core campaign promise to do justice for the thousands of separated families. We respectfully remind President Biden that he called these actions ‘criminal’ in a debate with then-President Trump, and campaigned on remedying and rectifying the lawlessness of the Trump administration. We call on President Biden to right the wrongs of this national tragedy.

CNN confirmed that Department of Justice officials had communicated to the ACLU that the figures quoted in the Wall Street Journal were far too high. 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) – who is developing a reputation for his willingness to troll Democrats on immigration issues, even going so far as to introduce doomed legislation that would have placed migrant processing centers in the preferred vacation destinations of Democrat elites – tweeted his latest snarky volley:

Cruz, though, also joined with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) in penning a letter urging Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to ramp up the nation’s preparations for the arrival of a 3,000-person migrant caravan bound for the U.S.

“We must enforce our immigration laws as we do any other laws and ensure migrants in this caravan with nonexistent asylum claims will not be released into the United States,” the letter reads. “The safety of our American citizens and future migrants depends on your actions.”