Outrage ensued after the Wall Street Journal reported the Biden administration was actually considering issuing potential payments of an exorbitant amount to immigrant families who filed lawsuits claiming psychological trauma caused by the U.S. government.
The families were separated at the southern border when they illegally migrated into the United States. Allegedly Biden’s administration was contemplating payouts of roughly $450,000 a person, costing the U.S. government more than an estimated $1 billion.
Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton tweeted his response to the news Friday morning:
“Good news – the Biden Admin canceled its plan to pay detained illegal immigrants $450k. But remember: if the Administration could have done this quietly, they would have made these payment. They’re only backing down because they got caught.”
Good news—the Biden Admin canceled its plan to pay detained illegal immigrants $450k.
But remember: if the Administration could have done this quietly, they would have made these payments.
They're only backing down because they got caught.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) December 17, 2021
In November, at least eleven Republican senators put pressure on Biden to end settlement talks. “[R]ewarding illegal immigration with financial payments runs counter to our laws and would only serve to encourage more lawlessness at our border,” Senator Chuck Grassley and other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote.
This week the Justice Department pulled out of negotiations.
National Review reports “The U.S. Department of Justice has pulled out of settlement talks with migrant families who were separated at the southern border under the Trump administration and instead plans to litigate hundreds of families’ claims, according to reports.”
“Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigrant rights project, served as a lead negotiator in the talks and reportedly told the Wall Street Journal the government ended settlement negotiations with families who have filed lawsuits claiming that the government subjected parents and children to lasting psychological trauma” adds National Review.
“We are hardly naive that politics sometimes plays a role in DOJ decisions but it is shameful that it happened when the lives of little children are at stake,” Gelernt told the Wall Street Journal. “History will not look kindly on the Biden administration’s decision not to stand up for these small children.”
The separations under question occurred under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which referred adults who entered the U.S. illegally for prosecution. Children who entered with those adults were separated from them and placed into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The separations occurred with no process for reuniting the families, as some parents were deported. President Trump later ended the policy in an executive order on June 20, 2018 after about 5,500 children were separated from their families, according to the ACLU.”
At the time, Biden had a tense exchange with a reporter who pressed him on the issue. “If in fact, because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration, you coming across the border — whether it was legal or illegal — and you lost your child,” Biden said, coinciding with his famous finger wagging. “You lost your child, he’s gone, you deserve some kind of compensation no matter what the circumstances.” He said, raising his voice at the reporter.
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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.
The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.
Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.
“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.
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