Republican lawmakers are demanding answers from President Joe Biden’s administration on reported massive payments to be made to illegal immigrants, a letter first obtained by The Daily Signal shows.
“Recent reports indicate that the Biden administration, as part of negotiations with a left-wing activist group, is considering paying $450,000 per person to aliens who entered the United States illegally with their children,” the letter said, referring to the American Civil Liberties Union. “Each family of illegal aliens could reportedly receive nearly $1 million, for a total potential payout of $1 billion or more from U.S. taxpayers.”
The letter is directed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and signed by 19 Republicans, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Louie Gohmert and Chip Roy of Texas, and Matt Gaetz of Florida.
“If accurate,” the letter continued, “these reports show how the Biden administration is once again putting the interests of illegal aliens above the interests of U.S. citizens and continuing to incentivize illegal immigration into the United States.”
“That’s not gonna happen,” the president told reporters.
But on Thursday, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that though the $450,000 figure is higher than what will be offered, the president is still “perfectly comfortable” with the Justice Department settling with families separated at the border.
“If it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous history of the previous administration’s use of zero tolerance and family separation behind us, the president is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the United States government,” Jean-Pierre said.
“This is coming from the last administration’s cruel, inhuman, immoral policies against just people,” Jean-Pierre continued. “It’s separating children from their families. … how we got here is because of the last administration. This is what we’re trying to deal with here in this administration.”
The administrations of former President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush also separated families at the border at a reportedly lower rate than the Trump administration. But the Department of Homeland Security (which did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Signal) reportedly did not track how many children the Obama administration separated.
The American Civil Liberties Union also suggested Wednesday that Biden “may not have been fully briefed about the actions of his very own Justice Department,” saying that the DOJ “carefully deliberated and considered the crimes committed against thousands of families separated from their children as an intentional governmental policy.
“We respectfully remind President Biden that he called these actions ‘criminal’ in a debate with then-President [Donald] Trump, and campaigned on remedying and rectifying the lawlessness of the Trump administration,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. “We call on President Biden to right the wrongs of this national tragedy.”
The Friday House Judiciary Committee letter maintains that the Biden administration has already “rewarded” illegal aliens for violating United States law by allowing them to stay and work in the U.S. legally.
“Now the administration plans to reward these illegal aliens again with hundreds of thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars,” the letter said. “Notably, at least one [Department of Homeland Security] lawyer expressed concern that the administration’s proposed $450,000 payments could be higher than payments made to some of the families of Sept. 11 victims.”
The Republicans warned Garland in the letter that the Biden administration’s actions are sending “exactly the wrong message” on illegal immigration, demanding that Garland provide documents and communications on payments to illegal aliens found on the southern border in 2017 and 2018.
The letter also questions whether the Biden administration may make payments to illegal aliens who presented threats or dangers to children, suggesting that the Biden administration decision may open the door to paying dangerous individuals.
“Is the Department considering payments to alien parents or legal guardians whose child was removed from their custody after a determination by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that the parent or legal guardian presented a danger to the child?” the letter asks.
The letter also asks Garland: “Is the Department considering payments to alien parents or legal guardians whose child was removed from their custody after a determination by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that the parent or legal guardian had a conviction for an offense relating to child abuse or neglect?”
The Republicans also questioned whether the DOJ is considering payments to parents or legal guardians whose child was removed because the parent or guardian had a “conviction for an offense relating to sexual abuse of a minor,” and whether the DOJ is considering payments to individuals who chose to leave their child in U.S. custody rather than take their child with them when returning to their home country.
“Out of what fund(s) will the payments to aliens be paid?” the letter asks. “For how many aliens who are outside the United States is the Department considering payments pursuant to the litigation described above? For how many aliens inside the United States is the Department considering payments pursuant to the litigation described above?”
The Judiciary Committee Republicans asked that Garland provide them with the requested information by Nov. 19.
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