The Biden administration is currently considering paying over 1,000 illegal immigrants $450,000 each as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The ACLU is representing just over 1,000 previously deported illegal immigrants and their parents in Ms. L v. ICE. The lawsuit was filed in 2018 after the enforcement of Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy. Since children under the age of 14 are not allowed to be imprisoned in federal criminal jails, Trump’s policy resulted in parents of illegal immigrants being separated from their children after they were caught violating America’s immigration laws. Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy also helped to contribute to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s successful fortification of America’s southern border, whereby ICE reported the lowest levels of illegal immigration in 17 years during Trump’s tenure. However, according to the lawsuit, the policy inflicted “suffering and trauma” upon non-citizens and their families. It should be noted that the lawsuit fails to explain how the “suffering and trauma” that occurred due to Trump’s policies differed from the suffering and trauma that was caused when previous administrations upheld America’s immigration laws, or the suffering and trauma that is caused when any parent of a child is incarcerated, which ultimately separates them.
The Biden administration actively engages in settlement negotiations in the lawsuit and plans to settle instead of further fighting the case. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Department of Justice (DOJ) are in active settlement discussions and would be the organizations that ultimately administer the payments to the illegal immigrants. In total, the Biden administration is expected to issue upwards of $1 billion in settlement rewards to non-citizens that filed claims in the lawsuit, although the final amount could change depending on how the remaining discussions go.
While the $450,000 figure being considered is outrageous, it is just over one-third of what the lawsuit demanded. According to the lawsuit, the average family sought $3.4 million in reparations or over $1.5 million per person. For comparison, the families of American service members killed in combat are awarded a maximum of $400,000 in Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI).
Last week, Biden claimed that reports of the $450,000 payments were “garbage.” However, last Thursday, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden is “perfectly comfortable” with issuing reparations to illegal immigrants that filed claims in the lawsuit. Most recently, on Saturday, Biden yelled at a reporter when they attempted to get answers regarding the situation. At this point, Biden seemingly flipped from his statement denouncing the payments that he had made just days prior when he told the reporter, “Because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration, you’re coming across the border, whether it was legally or illegally, and you lost your child—You lost your child. It’s gone—you deserve some kind of compensation, no matter what the circumstance. What that will be I have no idea.” It is currently unclear why Biden lied and attempted to dismiss reports of the payments, especially considering there is documented evidence to the contrary.
Republican leaders are rightfully speaking out against this insanity. To quote Senator Chuck Grassley, “We should not be paying anything to people who break our laws.” Senator Mitch McConnell added to the criticism by saying, “This absurd idea feels like a satirical policy proposal that Republicans would have invented to make a parody out of the radical left. Oh, and the next thing you know, they’ll be sending out million dollar checks to illegal immigrants! But this is literally what the Biden administration wants to do.” Both Senator McConnell and Senator Grassley recently sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding that he clarify what the Justice Department’s official stance on the payments is.
Nobody should ever receive compensation for violating America’s immigration laws. Offering such payments under any circumstances creates a terrible precedent and only offers illegal immigrants even more incentives to put their children in danger in the hopes of receiving a hefty sum of money from the government. The Biden administration should not even consider issuing these kinds of payments in the midst of America’s immigration crisis that they themselves have created with their disastrous policies.
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