DOJ suspends talks for payment to families separated at border, ACLU slams Biden – HotAir

The Biden administration pulled out of talks to reach a global settlement with migrant families separated at the southern border during the Trump administration. On Thursday DOJ blindsided lawyers representing families seeking compensation by saying it will instead go to court to seek a determination if any financial compensation is due. Guess who is being blamed for the end of the negotiations? Republicans, of course.

At the end of October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration was planning to offer financial compensation to migrant families separated at the border due to the Trump administration’s border policies. The ACLU and others filed lawsuits against the government. “Lasting psychological trauma” is the reason that compensation is due, according to the lawyers representing families separated at the border. It was reported that compensation from U.S. taxpayers could reach $450,000 per family.

Needless to say, this story set off some immediate pushback from Republicans and others who see the absurdity of the situation. When questions began to arise, the White House, including Biden, at first denied that such payments were on the table. Then the truth came out – this is not some far-right wackadoo story on Fox News, it came from the Wall Street Journal and was picked up by the New York Times. Once again, Joe Biden’s snarky response to a question by FNC’s Peter Doocy, meant to be a partisan zinger to the network, ended with Biden looking clueless as to what his own DOJ was doing. Then, upon having to admit that such talks were happening, Biden said, sure, he’s fine with paying the families.

House Republicans planned to introduce a bill that would not allow such payments. Biden later told reporters he thought the families deserved some amount of payment, he just didn’t know how much that would be. In November, eleven Republican senators asked Biden to end the negotiations.

The lawyers for the families were told by DOJ on a conference call yesterday that the talks have ended. The ACLU and others said they had no idea that the DOJ had made such a decision until that phone call. DOJ tried to smooth things over by saying that they are committed to “bringing justice to the victims of this abhorrent policy.”

Justice Department officials informed lawyers for the plaintiffs in a conference call that the government would not offer a global settlement in family separation cases and will defend each one in court, said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed one of the suits.

The decision comes after eight months of negotiations and weeks after reports of a proposed settlement that would include payments of several hundred thousand dollars to each family sparked outrage among Biden administration critics in Congress and elsewhere.

Gelernt said no explanation was given. “It’s hard to understand DOJ’s decision other than it was influenced by political considerations,” he said.

The Justice Department suggested in a statement that settlements were still possible despite its withdrawal from the talks.

“While the parties have been unable to reach a global settlement agreement at this time, we remain committed to engaging with the plaintiffs and to bringing justice to the victims of this abhorrent policy,” it said.

About 5,500 children were removed from their families in 2018 under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy at the southern border. Only about one-fifth of those families involved have filed lawsuits. The policy, put into operation by executive order, was controversial from the start. Both Republicans and Democrats objected to it.

The goal of the policy, officials said then, was to discourage the large number of Central American families that were making the perilous journey to the U.S. border, many of them fleeing violence in their countries.

Dr. Colleen Kraft, who was president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said at the time that she was dismayed at the policy’s “sweeping cruelty.”

The separations were widely condemned not only by Democrats but also by some Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas as well as Melania Trump and Laura Bush.

There are more than 900 claims against the government. DOJ intends to go to court with the cases now that the settlement negotiations have ended.

The ACLU offered a blistering statement over its disappointment of the DOJ’s decision to walk away.

Let’s be honest. If Republicans and others had not spoken up and said it is unacceptable to pay migrant families as Biden intended to do this would have become reality. Fortunately, that didn’t happen after the Biden administration was caught once again working out of the public’s eye on something that affects all Americans. I’m old enough to remember when Joe Biden claimed that his administration is the most transparent, ever. Let the open borders crowd complain that conservatives spoke up. Not only did they expose Biden’s nefarious scheme, but they also exposed the Biden DOJ for allowing politics to influence legal decisions. The Biden DOJ is a hyper-partisan department and this is just one more example of their lopsided view of justice in America. Joe Biden’s agenda has stalled in Congress. He can’t get BBB passed in the Senate. His poll numbers are bad and the last thing he needs is one more thing for his opponents to point to as an act of incompetence. Paying out large sums of taxpayer money to illegal migrants is a bone-headed idea that only encourages more families to cross the border. Biden incentivizing illegal migration by tossing out policies that work from the previous administration is how we got to where we are now in the Biden border crisis.

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