(WASHINGTON) — The Biden administration is considering making settlement payments to migrants who were separated from their children during the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy,” according to two people familiar with the planning.
Enacted in April of 2018, the policy that led to family separation drew widespread condemnation for removing children who crossed the border with their families and putting the adults into CBP custody, as opposed to keeping families together.
An Inspector General report in January found that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the “driving force” behind the policy, which was stopped in June 2018 after then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order.
The ACLU, among others, sued on behalf of families — seeking damages. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the payments, citing sources familiar with the matter saying an amount of around $450,000 a person — which could amount to nearly $1 million a family — was being discussed.
Officials who spoke with ABC News stressed on Friday that payment amounts have not yet been determined and could fluctuate per individual.
Former acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf slammed the proposal as “insulting to American taxpayers” and “dangerous” in an interview with ABC News on Friday.
“It appears as though they refused to go into court and to advocate against paying individuals or compensating individuals that have knowingly broken the law,” he said.
The Biden administration’s family reunification task force found that 3,913 children were separated from their families under the Trump administration.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas met with families who were separated in August and has previously called the policy “cruel.”
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