Over the past few months, the Biden administration has been “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.”
The Wall Street Journal spoke exclusively with “people familiar with the matter.” The discussion is specifically around families that were “part of a so-called zero-tolerance enforcement policy” during which “immigration agents separated thousands of children ranging from infants to teenagers, from their parents at the southern border in 2018 after they had crossed illegally from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S.”
A potential payout of $1 billion or more could be given to families from the lawsuits who say the separations under the U.S. government “subjected them to lasting psychological trauma.” Government agencies working to resolve the lawsuits include the U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services.
The agencies 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 families that crossed illegally into the U.S. from Mexico included one parent and one child, the people said. “Many families would likely get smaller payouts, depending on their circumstances, the people said.”
Many lawsuits “describe lasting mental-health problems for the children from the trauma of the months without their parents in harsh conditions, including anxiety, a fear of strangers and nightmares. The lawsuits seek a range of payouts, with the average demand being roughly $3.4 million per family, some of the people said.”
Some government lawyers have viewed the payouts as excessive for people who have violated the law by crossing the border, the people said.” Additionally, “One government lawyer threatened to remove his name from the case out of disagreement with the potential settlement offer, the people said.”
In another instance, a Department of Homeland Security attorney involved “complained on a conference call that the payouts could amount to more than some families of 9/11 victims received.”
“President Biden has agreed that the family separation policy is a historic moral stain on our nation that must be fully remedied,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigrant-rights project and a lead negotiator on one of the lawsuits. “That remedy must include not only meaningful monetary compensation but a pathway to remain in the country,” added Gelernt.
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Congressman Biggs to Unveil Impeachment Articles Against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
On Wednesday afternoon, Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) will unveil his 118th Congress impeachment articles against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Biggs, along with dozens of Republican congressional members, will hold a press conference at The House Triangle in the United States Capitol.
At least 15 members of Congress will provide remarks advocating for the impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas. Congressman Biggs was the first member of Congress to introduce articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, as early as August 2021.
The escalating border crisis during the Biden administration has led Biggs and other members to conclude Mayorkas’ “dereliction of duty in protecting our nation’s borders constituted high crimes and misdemeanors.”
In late December, The Washington Examiner reported on Biggs’ cited three examples of how he said Mayorkas broke the law.
“First, Secretary Mayorkas has failed to maintain operational control of the border as required under the law,” he said, quoting the Secure Fence Act of 2006’s definition of operational control as “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”
He added: “Second, he may have lied to Congress when he testified that he was maintaining operational control of the border.
The third illegal action, Biggs said, was how Mayorkas had not detained illegal immigrants and instead released more than 1 million people into the U.S.
“The law is clear illegal aliens shall be detained,” Biggs said.
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