*There’s been a lot of consternation by folks who were concerned about the US paying immigrant families who were separated at the Mexico border during the Trump administration.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said it wasn’t going to happen. and with the president’s pronouncement, there’s now doubt about the settlements the Justice Department has been negotiating to resolve legal claims by the families.
“That’s not going to happen,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
As was reported last week by The Wall Street Journal and other outlets, officials at the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services were in talks to pay around $450,000 a person to settle lawsuits filed on behalf of the families, who say they suffered trauma from being separated in 2018 while illegally crossing the border.
The people familiar with the matter have said the talks are ongoing and the final numbers could shift. Most of the families that crossed the border from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. included one parent and one child, which could mean payments close to $1 million per family. Many families would likely get smaller payouts, depending on their circumstances.
Here’s MORE via the Wall Street Journal:
Asked Wednesday by a reporter whether the prospect of the payments would encourage more migrants to try to cross into the U.S., Mr. Biden said, “If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah. But it’s not true.”
The White House referred questions about the president’s remarks to the Justice Department, which said it “will not comment on ongoing litigation.”
“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,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is involved in the litigation. “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.”
Mr. Romero said later Wednesday that the Justice Department had assured the ACLU that talks were continuing. “If we can’t achieve true restitution,” he added, “we’ll take our case on behalf of our clients to court.”
All we can say is stay tuned.