Biden Administration Reportedly Considering $450,000 Payments To Families Separated At Southern Border

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration may pay approximately $450,000 per person separated from their families at the southern border. This is in addition to a possible settlement for several lawsuits alleging that the U.S. government policies have left them with long-lasting psychological effects.

A caravan of Central Americans travelled for weeks across Mexico. They walked from Mexico to the U.S. border on April 29, 2018, in Tijuana (Baja California Norte), Mexico. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images). Getty Images

The Key Facts

The U.S. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services have been in discussions to offer $450,000 to each person who has been separated, according to multiple sources. As most families that crossed the border had one parent and one child, the offer is close to $1 million per family. However, the Journal says the official number could be higher. Although it is not clear how many people will be eligible, 940 families have filed claims. As part of Trump's zero tolerance policy, the immigrant families were separated when they crossed the border from Mexico to seek asylum in 2017. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others have brought lawsuits against government claiming that thousands of parents and children who were impacted by the policy had mental health consequences due to the long-term trauma. The Journal reports that the government and lawyers representing families are still trying to reach a settlement. They hope to have an agreement in place by November's end.

Important Background

Biden's first weeks as president he pledged to reunite families who had been separated by Trump's zero tolerance policy. The Trump administration began to pursue all illegal immigrants crossing the border. This resulted in children arriving with their parents being placed in shelters and other border facilities. The lawyers representing the children claim that they were malnourished and received very little medical care at these facilities. According to court documents, the ACLU identified around 5,500 children who were separated with their parents after crossing into Mexico in 2017 and 2018. The ACLU did not find all the children were reunited with their parents. Governing investigations revealed that Trump's administration didn't create any tracking systems for the separated parents.

Big Number

1,000. Michelle Bran, Family Reunification Task Force leader, stated that this is the approximate number of families still to be reunited. She acknowledged that there may be more families, as it is difficult to determine the exact number because there are no records.

Important Quote

According to Lee Gelernt, lead ACLU attorney and spokesperson for Forbes, the Biden administration has the right to offer relief to families and children affected by the government's horrific practice of family seperation. Their suffering will be something they live with for the rest of their lives. It is a moral stain on this country. It is our responsibility to do right. This includes providing financial support but also the opportunity to stay here. This is fair and right.

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Biden Administration talks to pay hundreds of millions to immigrant families separated at the border (The Wall Street Journal).

Nearly 400 Migrant Children Still Waiting to Identify Their Parents after Trump Separations and Reuniting Them Could be Tricky (Forbes).