Republicans moved Thursday to block a reported plan by the Biden administration to make $450,000 payments to illegal immigrants who were part of family separations during the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance border policy.
Sen. Steve Daines said he would introduce an amendment to the upcoming defense policy bill to derail the plan, which was reported by The Wall Street Journal.
“This is insane,” the Montana lawmaker said on Twitter.
The Journal said the payments are intended to compensate thousands of children and parents for trauma they suffered in the separations.
During zero tolerance, families that jumped the border without permission saw the adults prosecuted. The adults were jailed and the children had to be separated.
But an inspector general investigation found the Trump administration lacked the ability to reunite the families once the parents were released, usually after a few days. By then their children were in the federal shelter system.
Thousands of families were affected, and some remain separated to this day.
The Journal reported that the total payout under the Biden plan could be $1 billion.
The Biden administration is already working to bring many parents who were deported without their children back to the U.S. to give them a chance to reunite and make claims of protection.
But the idea of paying $450,000 in damages angered Republicans.
“It would be unthinkable to pay damages to a burglar who broke into your home for the ‘psychological trauma’ they endured during the crime. And yet the Biden administration wants to reward migrants who illegally entered our country with up to $450,000 each for just that reason,” said Sen. Tom Cotton.
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