by Anna Giaritelli, Homeland Security Reporter

The Biden administration has walked away from legal negotiations in which it was considering paying $450,000 to each adult and child separated at the southern border during the Trump administration, according to a spokesman for the plaintiffs.

The U.S. government “has ended negotiations over a settlement of the cases seeking monetary compensation,” Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, wrote in a message to the Washington Examiner.

Officials from the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Justice had proposed paying each person $450,000, or nearly $1 million per two-person family, to settle claims about the lasting traumatic and psychological effects of being torn apart as a result of former President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, the Wall Street Journal reported in October. The policy was rolled out nationwide in April 2018 and shuttered in June 2018.

ACLU lead attorney Lee Gelernt told CBS News that the Biden administration’s decision not to pay affected families was the result of having “allowed politics to get in the way of helping the little children deliberately abused by our government.”

Approximately 5,400 children were separated at the border and sent to HHS facilities, while their parents were referred for prosecution for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Families could not be detained through those legal proceedings, prompting the separations.

The amount paid out to each family would depend on the circumstances of their separation. Settlement talks are expected to conclude by the end of November, with more than 940 claims and multiple lawsuits filed.

News of the settlement talks infuriated congressional Republicans given the crisis at the southern border since President Joe Biden took office at the start of the year.

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The Trump White House in 2019 reportedly blocked a Justice Department deal to cover the costs of mental health services for the 5,400 children. Then-White House senior adviser Stephen Miller advised the Office of White House Counsel against settling a federal lawsuit over government-funded counseling and other services.

More than 600 children had yet to reunite as of January. The Biden administration created a task force to help reunite them.

By don

One thought on “Biden administration scraps $450,000 payments to migrant families separated under Trump”
  1. Just one screwup after another for Biden. How could anyone believe that giving half a million to people that came here illegally. Were separated from their kids and most likely were reunited with them. Is a smart thing to do? More than likely the government was thinking that they would ask for billions and they skim a large chuck of the top. You have to know that very few would receive any of that money…

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