The White House is in talks to pay millions to separated families at the border

The Biden administration is discussing paying hundreds of millions of dollars to families of illegal immigrants who were separated at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported, Thursday.

According to the magazine, the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services are considering payments to settle lawsuits brought by the ACLU and others on behalf of families who crossed into the United States from Mexico illegally to seek asylum.

The newspaper notes that the average demand in each lawsuit amounts to nearly $3.4 million per household, while the Biden administration’s settlement offer is about $450,000 per person and nearly $1 million per household.

The magazine reported that the American Civil Liberties Union has identified nearly 5,500 children affected by the policy, which advocates say has caused physical and mental trauma to children who were taken from their parents. So far, about 940 claims have been filed by immigrant families.

Depending on how much is paid to settle each claim, the cost to taxpayers could be close to $1 billion.

“The Biden administration is right to provide relief to children and families affected by the government’s appalling practices of family separation,” ACLU attorney Lee Gilert said in a statement. Their suffering is something they will always live with, and it is a moral stain on our country. We need to get it right, and that includes not simply any monetary support, but also a way to stay here. This is right and just.”

The ACLU statement did not say how much progress has been made in settlement talks, but the newspaper reported that lawyers on both sides of the lawsuits have told the courts overseeing the cases that they hope to reach a final agreement by the end of November.

The size of the potential payments has become a source of contention on the government side, the newspaper added, with at least one lawyer threatening to have his name removed from the case due to his disagreement with the size of the potential offer.

Congressional Republicans, who have repeatedly accused Biden of leniency on illegal immigration, responded with anger to the newspaper’s report.

It is unreasonable to pay thieves who broke into your home for the ‘psychological trauma’ they suffered during the crime. Senator Tom Cotton (ARC Republican) tweeted Thursday. However, Biden’s supervisor wants to reward immigrants who entered our country illegally with up to $450,000 each for that reason. madness.”

“Biden wants to pay $450,000 to undocumented immigrants for their suffering while violating our laws,” he wrote on Twitter. Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas). “From perspective, if a service member is killed in action, their closest relatives get a $400,000 insurance payment. We let that sink in.”

The report emerged days after US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed that more than 1.7 million border-crossers were arrested illegally over the past 12 months, the largest number on record.

The White House and the Department of Homeland Security referred requests for comment to the Department of Justice. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to inquiries from the Washington Post.

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