President Joe Biden’s administration is considering a plan that would give border crossers, who were subjected to former President Donald Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy, about $450,000 each in a reparations-style payout.
Trump had instituted the Zero Tolerance policy at the United States-Mexico border in 2018 to reduce illegal immigration. The policy, as Breitbart News reported at the time, had been effective since at least before 2001.
As a result of the policy, adult border crossers were often put into separate holding facilities from the children they arrived with at the southern border. Since then, the border crossers who were subjected to the policy have sued the federal government.
The Biden administration, the Wall Street Journal reveals, is now weighing whether to provide those border crossers with $450,000 each as part of a payout in the lawsuits filed.
In some instances, a migrant family could secure about $1 million from such a payout, more than some of the American families received following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The payout, overall, could cost American taxpayers more than $1 billion.
The Journal reports:
The Biden administration is in talks to offer immigrant families that were separated during the Trump administration around $450,000 a person in compensation, according to people familiar with the matter, as several agencies work to resolve lawsuits filed on behalf of parents and children who say the government subjected them to lasting psychological trauma. [Emphasis added]
The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services are considering payments that could amount to close to $1 million a family, though the final numbers could shift, the people familiar with the matter said. Most of the families that crossed the border illegally from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. included one parent and one child, the people said. Many families would likely get smaller payouts, depending on their circumstances, the people said. [Emphasis added]
In another instance, a Department of Homeland Security attorney involved in the settlement talks complained on a conference call that the payouts could amount to more than some families of 9/11 victims received, one person said. Other people said senior departmental officials were in alignment on the amount and disputed the 9/11 comparison, given that the U.S. government hadn’t been responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 9/11 victim compensation fund averaged awards to the dead of around $2 million, tax-free, at the time an unprecedented payout, the administrator of the fund has said. [Emphasis added]
“It would be unthinkable to pay damages to a burglar who broke into your home for the ‘psychological trauma’ they endured during the crime,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said in a statement. “And yet the Biden administration wants to reward migrants who illegally entered our country with up to $450,000 each for just that reason.”
“The Biden administration’s promises of citizenship and entitlement programs have already caused the worst border crisis in history — a huge cash reward will make it even worse. This is the height of insanity,” Cotton said.
In their lawsuits, border crossers allege that their separation from the children they arrived with at the U.S.-Mexico border spurred mental health issues and trauma that they have struggled to overcome.
Lawyers for the border crossers want around $3.4 million per family unit.
Such settlements have occurred in recent years. For example, in June 2019, a family of Honduran border crossers won $125,000 in damages after they filed a lawsuit claiming the federal government had mistreated them when holding them in detention facilities.
In May, reports circulated that as part of such a settlement with border crossers subjected to the Zero Tolerance policy, the Biden administration would fly deported illegal aliens back to the U.S. and provide them with amnesty to remain in the country, as well as payments and social services.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.