Over 3,900 children have been identified as separated from their families under Donald Trump's 'zero-tolerance' immigration policy.
The Biden administration is reportedly negotiating restitution payments to immigrant families with children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under a policy implemented by the administration of former President Donald Trump. The negotiations are a response to lawsuits filed on behalf of some of the families alleging abuses and lasting physical and mental suffering inflicted on children separated from their family members and held in detention facilities.
Fox News and Republican members of Congress are attacking President Joe Biden over the negotiations.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 28 that the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services are negotiating payments that could amount to as much as $1 million per family in restitution for alleged abuses suffered by migrant children separated from their families under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policies.
The Family Reunification Task Force created by Biden through an executive order in February has identified 3,913 children who were separated from their families between July 1, 2017, and the end of Trump's term on Jan. 20, 2021, under a policy that was widely condemned by world leaders, international organizations, and medical professionals that included British Prime Minister Theresa May, Pope Francis, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump did not bow to pressure and order the policy stopped until June 2018.
But without the intervention of the Biden administration, taxpayers could be on the hook for much more money.
According to the Journal report, the lawsuits allege children separated from their families were kept in freezing cold rooms and not provided adequate medical attention and suffered heat exhaustion and malnutrition. They involve at least 940 claims and are asking for as much as $3.4 million per family, more than three times the purported settlement being negotiated by the Biden administration.
On Friday, Fox News hosts Lawrence Jones and Steve Doocy accused the Biden administration of orchestrating a "payout" to migrants, basing the allegation on the reporting by the Wall Street Journal, which, like Fox News, is owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
"Fox & Friends" co-host Lawrence Jones charged that any distress experienced by immigrant children was the result of decisions made by their parents.
"They're saying that this is emotional distress," said Jones, adding, "Most of these kids are already going through emotional distress. The reason why they separated the kids from the parents [was] because they cannot correctly identify who's the parent at the time ... These kids are pumped up with, the girls, with birth control, they are raped on this journey. They do not eat, a lot of times get proper nutrition or water on this journey."
"They already disrespected this country by not going through the legal channels. They didn't go through a port of entry, they went through this treacherous journey, which many of us have compassion, but it's a journey that they decided to take," said Jones. "And then they come to the United States and then sue the American taxpayers who have welcomed them with open arms."
Doocy argued that the possible settlement would be a "gigantic green light" telling other migrants to come north.
Republicans in Congress echoed Fox's take on the negotiations.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on Thursday, "Pure insanity. The Biden administration is reportedly looking to pay $450,000 to illegal immigrants who knowingly broke the law. It's a slap in the face to our law-abiding citizens who wake up, go to work, and pay their taxes."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted a link to the Wall Street Journal story with the word "No."
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said, "Biden wants to pay illegal immigrants $450,000 for their hardship while breaking our laws."
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) tweeted, "No one who entered America illegally should get $450,000 for any reason."
Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), retweeting Breitbart coverage, wrote, "Absolutely unacceptable. He must be stopped."
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) noted, "Joe Biden wants to pay illegal immigrants $450,000 while Americans struggle to make ends meet in his inflated economy."
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said, "It's unthinkable to pay a burglar who broke into your home for the 'psychological trauma' they endured during the crime. Yet the Biden admin wants to reward migrants who illegally entered our country with up to $450,000 each for just that reason."
Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) wrote, "The Biden administration wants to pay people who illegally crossed the border during the Trump administration $450,000 per person. This is insanity."
Former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted video of his own appearance on "Fox & Friends" Friday and wrote, "The Biden policy of giving illegal immigrants $450K each is totally unacceptable. The Biden Admin unleashed the worst Border Crisis in more than 30 years all because they dismantled policies that were working & sent a message south of the border that America's borders are OPEN."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.