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

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Biden Administration Reportedly Considering 0,000 Payments To Families Separated At Southern Border

Topline

The Biden administration is reportedly considering making payments of approximately $450,000 to each person separated from their family at the southern border, the Wall Street Journal reports, showing signs of a potential settlement for several lawsuits that claim the U.S. government’s policies left them with lasting psychological effects.

Key Facts

The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services are in talks to offer each person who had been separated $450,000, the Journal reports, citing multiple sources close to the discussions.

The offer comes to nearly $1 million per family, as most families who crossed the border included one parent and one child, though the Journal reports the official number could change.

It is unclear how many people will be eligible for the settlement, but about 940 families have reportedly filed claims.

The immigrant families were separated after crossing the border from Mexico to claim asylum in 2017 and 2018 as part of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among others, have filed lawsuits against the government alleging that the thousands of children and parents impacted by the policy have mental health effects from the prolonged trauma.

The Journal reports that lawyers representing families and the government are continuing to negotiate the settlement and aim to reach an agreement by the end of November.

Key Background

During Biden’s first weeks in office, he vowed to reunite the families that had been separated by the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy. Starting in 2017, the Trump administration tried to prosecute all immigrants who illegally crossed the border, resulting in children who arrived with their parents being sent to shelters and border facilities. Lawyers representing the children in lawsuits allege that children were subjected to malnutrition and provided little medical attention at these facilities. The ACLU identified approximately 5,500 children who were separated from their parents after crossing the border in 2017 and 2018, according to court documents. Not all of the children have been reunited with their parents, as governmental investigations found that the Trump administration did not create ways to track the parents and the children who had been separated.

Big Number

1,000. That’s approximately the number of families who have yet to be reunited, Family Reunification Task Force leader Michelle Brané said in an interview earlier this month. She noted that there could be more as it’s “very hard to know because there’s no record.” She said the task force has reunited at least 52 families since Biden assumed office.

Crucial Quote

“The Biden administration is correct to provide relief to the children and families affected by the government’s horrific practice of family separation,” ACLU lead attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement to Forbes. “Their suffering is something they will always live with, and it is a deep moral stain on our country. We need to make it right, and this includes not simply any monetary support, but also a path to remain here. This is what is right and fair.”

Further Reading

Biden Administration in Talks to Pay Hundreds of Millions to Immigrant Families Separated at Border (The Wall Street Journal)

Almost 400 Migrant Kids Still Waiting To Identify Parents After Trump Separations — And Reuniting Them Could Be Tricky (Forbes)

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