By Luis Miguel
The U.S. House Republican caucus on Thursday is set to introduce a bill to block a reported plan by the Biden administration to pay millions of dollars in compensation to illegal aliens whom the Trump administration separated while enforcing federal immigration policy. This comes as Joe Biden has denied that such a policy exists — a denial supporters are calling him out on.
Per reports, Representative Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who serves as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, is introducing the Illegal Immigration Payoff Prohibition Act.
The legislation would amend 18 USC 2414, which empowers the U.S. attorney general to enter settlement agreements.
In response to news that the Biden administration plans to pay $450,000 per migrant who was separated under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, the McClintock bill would prevent the AG from making settlement payments to illegal aliens that directly arise from their violation of immigation laws, including laws criminalizing border crossings.
The Republican legislation is co-sponsored by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and 135 other members of Congress.
“Who says crime doesn’t pay? Under Biden it apparently pays very well indeed,” McClintock said in a statement. “Law-abiding, hardworking Americans have seen their purchasing power decimated by Biden’s economic policies while he has surrendered our southern border. Paying illegal immigrants $450,000 apiece as an apology for Trump’s decision to enforce our immigration law adds insult to injury. Congress has the power of the purse, and that’s why we must act today to stop this outrageous plan in its tracks.”
It was the Wall Street Journal that broke the news last week that the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services intend to give out $450,000 per illegal alien who was separated from family members. The move comes in response to lawsuits from pro-migration groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The money could come out to nearly $1 million per family and $1 billion total, though the Journal noted that many families would receive smaller amounts.
Biden was questioned about the payments on Wednesday, at which time he called the reports “garbage.”
“If you guys keep sending that garbage out? Yeah, but it’s not true,” Biden said.
“$450,000 per person, is that what you’re saying?” he added. “That’s not going to happen.”
The ACLU responded to the statement by saying that Biden “may not have been fully briefed about the actions of his very own Justice Department as it carefully deliberated and considered the crimes committed against thousands of families separated from their children as an intentional governmental policy.”
“But if he follows through on what he said, the president is abandoning a core campaign promise to do justice for the thousands of separated families,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. “We respectfully remind President Biden that he called these actions ‘criminal’ in a debate with then-President Trump and campaigned on remedying and rectifying the lawlessness of the Trump administration. We call on President Biden to right the wrongs of this national tragedy.”
Republicans have fired back at the White House, contrasting the funds to be given to illegal aliens with the amount spent on members of the military and veterans.
McCarthy, who has requested a meeting with Biden over the border crisis, said the proposals demonstrate that the executive branch’s priorities are “backwards.”
“With all the challenges Americans are facing every day — including an unprecedented border crisis — providing $450,000 per person settlement payments to illegal immigrants is pure insanity,” the Republican leader stated. “This is not only an insult to the American people, but also will worsen the border crisis and lead to a business boom for drug cartels and human traffickers, who are already exploiting Democrats’ disastrous border policies.”
“Democrats lock down the economy, pay people not to work, raise your taxes, and now want to give illegal immigrants $450,000 checks paid for by American taxpayers,” Jordan said. “Our bill would make sure the Attorney General can’t unilaterally make that happen.”
Republicans’ proposed bill comes after Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on Wednesday introduced a bill in the Senate seeking to stop the payments by amending the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 by barring payments arising from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.