According to a new report, the Biden administration may consider paying out payments to immigrant families who were separated at the south border by the Trump administration. This would amount to approximately $450,000 per person. The total payout could be more than $1Billion.
According to people familiar with the matter, the U.S. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services are currently weighing the payments in order to settle lawsuits alleging that the government caused parents and children lasting psychological trauma.
According to the report, most families had one parent and one child who illegally crossed the border from Mexico. Many families will likely receive smaller payouts depending on their circumstances.
The American Civil Liberties Union estimates that 5,500 children were separated at the border by Trump's administration. However, officials from the government believe that there will be fewer eligible families for the settlement.
According to the Associated Press, Trump's zero-tolerance policy was the reason for the separation. It began in April 2018, and was implemented by an executive order. This order did not notify other federal agencies. All adults, even those with children, who illegally entered the U.S. were subject to this policy.
Children who were brought along by these adults were taken from their parents and placed in the custody of Department of Health and Human Services. Separations were made without any process of reuniting families. Some parents were even deported. The policy was ended by President Trump in an executive order issued on June 20, 2018.
According to the lawsuits, the separations led to mental-health problems that lasted a lifetime for the children due to the trauma of being without their parents for months.
According to sources, the Wall Street Journal was told by sources that the lawsuits require a variety of payments. The average family request is for $3.4 million. The government and lawyers representing the families have indicated to courts that they expect to reach a settlement by November's end.
Continue the story
Lee Gelernt (deputy director of ACLU's immigrant rights project) was a lead negotiator in one of the lawsuits. According to the report, the remedy for separated families must include meaningful monetary compensation and a pathway to stay in the country.
Gelernt observed that President Biden agreed that the family seperation policy was a historical moral stain that must be addressed.
The report states that some government lawyers consider the payments excessive for illegal immigrants who have broken the law crossing the border. In protest at the settlement offer, a government lawyer threatened his client's removal from the case.
An additional Department of Homeland Security attorney was involved in the talks and expressed concern that payouts might exceed the compensation received by some families of 9/11 victims. Senior officials from the department rejected the suggestion, stating that the U.S. government wasn't responsible for the terrorist attacks. Average awards to victims of 9/11 were approximately $2 million. This was tax-free.
The Biden administration continues to work with separated families, and has reunited 52 families so far. The administration is currently working to reunite about 200 more families. A three-year grant of parole is given to the families, which gives migrants legal status and allows them to apply for work permits.
Parole authority should be used only when necessary for humanitarian reasons. However, the Biden administration has gone against the norm by granting parole to thousands of illegal immigrants.
National Review: More