WASHINGTON (TND) — Leading Senate Republicans introduced legislation Thursday that would block the Biden administration’s payments to immigrants who unlawfully entered the U.S. and were separated from their families under the Trump administration.
Last month President Joe Biden said immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. and were separated from their families during the Trump administration “deserve some kind of compensation.” However, Biden admitted he had “no idea” how much that compensation would be following reports indicating it could be as much as $450k per person — or $1 million per family.
The Protect American Taxpayer Dollars from Illegal Immigration Act was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The bill also has 25 other Republican co-sponsors.
The legislation states it would prohibit the use of federal funds for “claims based on the lawful detention” of individuals “part of a family unit” that occurred under the Trump administration.
We can and should take measures to prevent separation of apprehended migrant families when there is no threat to the health and safety of the child, but the cash settlements the Administration is considering would only further incentivize families to make the dangerous journey and exacerbate the problem along our southern border,” Cornyn said in a statement obtained by The National Desk (TND). “This legislation would prevent the Administration from making this mistake.
The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services reportedly considered the payments due to ongoing efforts to settle lawsuits filed by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who argue the Trump administration subjected those separated at the southern border to psychological trauma as a result of family separation.
The total potential payout could be over $1 billion for the federal government, according to The Wall Street Journal.
However, during a news conference, Biden called reports that the payments could be as high as $450,000 per person “garbage” when asked about the dollar amount by reporters.
“While American families are struggling anxiously just to keep pace with President Biden’s inflation, the President now wants to make millionaires out of people who crossed the border illegally. It’s beyond parody,” said McConnell, according to the statement. “Obviously, this would only exacerbate the Democrats’ border crisis and incentivize the riskiest and most dangerous kinds of illegal immigration.”