Fact check: Republican claims about payouts to immigrants are false


President Joe Biden has already made clear that reports of $450,000 settlements are 'garbage.'

Several days after President Joe Biden denied a report that his administration would give large payments to families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under former President Donald Trump, congressional Republicans are still lying about it.

"As inflation soars to record highs, Biden wants to pay those who broke the law and entered our country illegally $450,000 APIECE," tweeted Florida Rep. Scott Franklin on Tuesday. "All with your tax dollars! The Radical Left wants Americans to lower their expectations while giving criminals a huge payday."

On Oct. 28, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice was negotiating a settlement with hundreds of families who were victims of Trump's immigration policies. The story cited unnamed "people familiar with the matter" to suggest some families might receive up to $450,000 per person in compensation for the previous administration's misdeeds and the psychological and physical damage they caused.

Republicans and right-wing media seized on the report, dishonestly blaming Biden for the legal fallout of Trump's "zero tolerance" policies — although without a settlement, taxpayers could be forced to pay up to three times as much as the reported figure, according to the Wall Street Journal.

On Nov. 3, Biden was asked about the report and quickly dismissed the $450,000-per-person figure as inaccurate "garbage."

"It's not true," he said. "That's not gonna happen."

A day later, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said that while Biden "is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the U.S. government," the Justice Department has "made clear to the plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land," a statement confirmed by Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing families separated under Trump.

This has not stopped Republican lawmakers from continuing to lie about Biden's position.

"Paying illegal immigrants $450,000 will only further incentivize people to continue breaking our immigration laws," wrote West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Tuesday morning. "Instead of addressing the border/inflation/supply chain crises, this backwards policy is what the Biden administration is focused on."

"Instead of sending $450,000 checks to illegal immigrants, the Department of Justice should send them a bill to pay for border security," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said Monday.

"First, the Biden admin encourages illegal immigration, which spurs on the HIGHEST level of illegal crossings in American history," falsely claimed Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson. "NOW, he's going to PAY them $450,000 each with YOUR hard earned money. Absolutely INSANE!"

"If the Biden Administration gets their way," warned Texas Rep. Lance Gooden. "5,000 unvaccinated Border Patrol agents will get pink slips and illegal immigrants will get $450,000."

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) even claimed that the purported $450,000 payments were part of Biden's Build Back Better jobs and climate change package, falsely stating, "Joe Biden's 'build back broke' plan will pay some illegal immigrants over 4x the amount of money Gold Star families receive."

While these GOP lawmakers are now attacking Biden over the possibility of out-of-court settlements, each has stood by Trump, whose policies spurred the lawsuits and left hundreds of immigrant children separated from their families. Not a single congressional Republican tweet has blamed the previous administration for putting the government in its current position to begin with.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.