President Biden’s Justice Department is abandoning its plan to award migrants families separated at the border with hundreds of thousands. A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed that the Justice Department has opted not to go ahead with the plan.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The government will instead move to litigate the hundreds of claims filed by families seeking monetary damages for the lasting psychological trauma they say the prolonged separations caused, according to Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigrant-rights project and a lead negotiator in the talks.
The Wall Street Journal in October reported that the government and lawyers for the families had been in talks to pay up to $450,000 in damages to each person affected by those Trump administration actions. The lawsuits allege some of the affected children suffered from a range of ailments, including heat exhaustion and malnutrition, and were kept in cold rooms and provided little medical attention.
Amid political outcry from Republican lawmakers, after the settlement talks were reported, the government told outside negotiators the number would need to be lowered. This week, the lawyers say, the Justice Department pulled out of negotiations entirely.
“We are hardly naive that politics sometimes plays a role in Justice Department decisions but it is shameful that it happened when the lives of little children are at stake,” Mr. Gelernt said. “History will not look kindly on the Biden administration’s decision not to stand up for these small children.”
Last month, 11 Republican senators wrote to Biden urging him to not follow through with the idea.
“[R]ewarding illegal immigration with financial payments runs counter to our laws and would only serve to encourage more lawlessness at our border,” Sen. Chuck Grassley and 10 other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote.