WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden said on Saturday that families of children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border during the Trump administration should receive compensation as his Justice Department is negotiating a settlement with affected families.
Raising his voice, Biden said that regardless of the circumstances, people who had their children taken away in line with the Trump administration’s family separation policy, designed to deter families from illegally entering the United States, should receive rewards.
“If, in fact, because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration, you crossed the border, legally or illegally, and lost a child, you have lost a child. He’s gone – you deserve some kind of compensation, no matter the circumstances, ”Biden said. “What it will be, I have no idea. I have no idea.”
Shortly after taking office, Biden created a task force to try to reunite hundreds of children and parents affected by policies that had been in place for months throughout 2018 and sparked outrage at home and abroad.
The government considered paying about $ 450,000 to each victim, but has since changed the figure, albeit not drastically, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are confidential.
Discussions are ongoing and there is no guarantee that both sides will come to an agreement.
According to court records in the federal case in San Diego, about 5,500 children were separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which separated parents from their children and faced criminal prosecution for illegal border crossing. Inadequate tracking systems have left many separated for a long time. The payments are intended to compensate for psychological trauma.
Family lawyers are also seeking permanent legal status in the United States for those torn apart by a practice that a judge stopped in June 2018, six days after Trump stopped it under international pressure.
Associated Press writer Elliot Spagat of San Diego contributed.