White House caves, admits it’s still considering cash payments for migrant families separated at border

Many Americans were shocked last week by reports alleging the Biden administration was considering making huge cash payments to migrants who had been impacted by former President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” border policies.

While White House officials have since attempted to downplay the amount of money individuals may receive, the Washington Examiner reports that they aren’t denying that funds could get handed out. 

The Wall Street Journal published a story on Oct. 28 claiming the Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services (HHS) were looking at paying six-figure sums to families who were separated at the border under Trump.

“Meaningful” compensation

Although the Journal said “the final numbers could shift,” an estimate of $450,000 per person, or upwards of $1 million per family, could have been passed out. The total cost of it all was expected to be worth over $1 billion.

The payments would reportedly be used to settle lawsuits that have been filed by family members with help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“President Biden has agreed that the family separation policy is a historic moral stain on our nation that must be fully remedied,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt was quoted as saying.

“That remedy must include not only meaningful monetary compensation, but a pathway to remain in the country,” Gelernt added.

Wishy-washy White House

According to the Washington Examiner, President Joe Biden initially denied that any payment offers were on the table, telling reporters on Wednesday that they were “not going to happen” and dismissing reports about them as “garbage.”

However, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre later conceded that settlements were still being pursued and clarified that Biden was simply disputing the reported numbers.

“The president, what he was reacting to was the dollar figure that you mentioned to him yesterday,” she told reporters, according to the Examiner.

“As press accounts today indicate, the Department of Justice made clear to the plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land,” Jean-Pierre added.

“If it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous history of the previous administration’s use of zero-tolerance and family separation behind us,” she said, “the president is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigating with the U.S. government.”

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