One border-state sheriff has been left “perplexed” by the Biden administration’s reported plan to offer payouts to migrants who were separated from their families at the U.S.–Mexico border under President Donald Trump’s no-tolerance immigration policies.
In a statement to Fox News, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels slammed the proposal, saying it “creates a message that serves to defy our rule of law and fracture our American values.”
Payouts to migrants
As chair of the National Sheriffs’ Association Border Committee, Dannels has long been a vocal critic of President Joe Biden and his White House’s exceptionally lax enforcement of border security laws over the last 10 months.
That didn’t change when the Wall Street Journal reported last week that three agencies within the Biden administration — the Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services (HHS) — had been engaged in negotiations with civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to provide reparations to migrant families affected by Trump-era policies.
The Journal said the payments could be as much as $450,000 per adult, up to $1 million per family, and perhaps as much as $1 billion altogether, once settlements have been reached to avoid further civil litigation on the matter.
Back-and-forth at the White House
President Biden, for his part, initially dismissed that report as “garbage” that was “not going to happen” when questioned following a speech Wednesday.
But White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre contradicted that during Thursday’s briefing, claiming that the president was “perfectly comfortable” with the payouts and that the only dispute was over the final amount to be offered.
Fox noted that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also seemed to confirm the Journal‘s reporting during a Thursday speech at the Aspen Security Forum, when he acknowledged that both the proposed payouts as well as a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens remain under consideration by the Biden administration.
It all proved too much for Dannels, who said in his statement to Fox:
America’s southern border has become a political pathway for illegal entries highlighted by historical numbers and willful neglect by this administration, leaving Americans vulnerable to the practices of the cartels’ criminal behavior.
“President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas continue to set aside their Oath of Office to protect America first,” the sheriff continued. “Recent decisions and negotiations by this administration to financially reward those who illegally breached our southern border creates a message that serves to defy our rule of law and fracture our American values and traditions.”
He concluded: “As a border Sheriff, I stand perplexed by these failed decisions, but stand steadfast in the protection of my citizens and the rule of law as outlined in my Oath of Office.”
He’s not the only one. Fox reports that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY), joined by Senate Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Chuck Grassley (IA), sent a letter Thursday to Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers to a series of pertinent questions regarding the “multi-million-dollar taxpayer give-away to illegal immigrants.” Only time will tell when — and if — they’ll hear back.