The Biden administration is considering paying illegal immigrant families who were separated at the border under former President Donald Trump’s policies up to $450,000 per person, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The illegal immigrants filed a lawsuit claiming the federal government detention resulted in major psychological trauma, according to the WSJ. Most of the families were made up of one parent and child who could receive around $1 million in payouts, though the amount could vary by family depending on the circumstances.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represents some of the families involved in the lawsuit against the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services, the WSJ reported. Around 940 families filed claims and the number of those who might qualify for the settlement is expected to be lower.
“President Biden has agreed that the family separation policy is a historic moral stain on our nation that must be fully remedied,” ACLU lead negotiator Lee Gelernt said, according to the WSJ. “That remedy must include not only meaningful monetary compensation, but a pathway to remain in the country.”
The Biden administration could end up paying illegal immigrant families over $1 billion in settlements, according to the WSJ. Trump’s immigration policies included separating migrant minors from adults after they illegally crossed into the U.S. regardless of relation.
The migrants weren’t told how to track their family members after they were separated and some of the children reportedly suffered from malnutrition, heat exhaustion and were held in cold rooms without access to medical attention, the WSJ reported. Several of the complaints allege the kids have mental health ailments including anxiety and nightmares after their time spent in detention.
President Joe Biden promised to reunite separated migrant families and called Trump’s policies a “moral and national shame,” according to the WSJ. Some of the families said they expect to settle with the administration in November.
Biden instructed the DHS to form a multi-agency Family Reunification Task Force to reunite migrant families that were separated under the Trump administration, according to the agency. The task force discovered nearly 4,000 children who were separated from their parents during the “Zero-Tolerance” policy and had reunited around 1,800 of them as of June 8.
Some of the migrant families filed civilian claims seeking compensation to cover mental health treatments, the WSJ reported. In another lawsuit, the ACLU asked the Biden administration to cover mental health and other welfare services and permanent legal status for migrant families.
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