White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden is “perfectly comfortable” with the Department of Justice paying illegal immigrants who were previously separated at the border.
Her comments, made during a press briefing on Thursday, came just hours after the President claimed reports on the payments were “garbage.”
“If it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous history of the previous administration’s use of zero tolerance and family separation behind this,” Jean said, “the president is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the US government.”
When asked about the payments, initially reported by the Wall Street Journal to be as high as $450,000 per illegal and potentially $1 million per family, Biden said Wednesday, “That’s not going to happen.”
Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked the President if such exorbitant payments would incentivize more migrants to cross the border illegally.
Biden responded: “If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah, but it’s not true.”
BREAKING: President Biden DENIES plan to pay migrant families separated at the border $450K per individual, calls such reports “GARBAGE” pic.twitter.com/beOl73kDEn
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) November 3, 2021
Comfortable Paying Illegal Immigrants
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President Biden was immediately met with pushback for calling the reports that his administration was considering paying illegal immigrants “garbage.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called Biden out and suggested he had no idea what his own administration was doing.
“President 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,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said.
ACLU’s big mad at Biden for dismissing reports that DOJ is negotiating $450k payouts to illegal immigrants. They say he must not have been briefed about negotiations his DOJ is conducting with ACLU https://t.co/pRQ17b4Z6A pic.twitter.com/blavHSKy7E
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) November 3, 2021
The Journal reported that the potential payout to illegal immigrants is in response to those lawsuits filed by parents and children who claim the government subjected them to “lasting psychological trauma.”
In walking back Biden’s denial, Jean claimed the President was only calling the payment amounts “garbage,” not the actual act of potentially paying illegal immigrants separated at the border.
“The president was — what he was reacting to was the dollar figure that was mentioned — that you mentioned to him yesterday,” Jean told Doocy.
She added, “The DOJ made clear to the plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land.”
Peter Doocy asks Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about Biden calling reports that the administration will give $450k to illegal immigrants “garbage”.
She deflects to the DOJ pic.twitter.com/BWDmqbC6Le
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 4, 2021
Republicans have been outraged over the idea of the United States government paying illegal immigrants for allegedly being subjected to “trauma.”
Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy declared the policy to be “pure insanity.”
McCarthy tweeted, “It’s a slap in the face to our law-abiding citizens who wake up, go to work, and pay their taxes.”
Pure insanity. The Biden administration is reportedly looking to pay $450,000 to illegal immigrants who knowingly broke the law.
It’s a slap in the face to our law-abiding citizens who wake up, go to work, and pay their taxes.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 28, 2021
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also slammed the proposal.
“I mean, you think about it, Americans are getting more in their gas bills, they’re getting more in their grocery bills,” the Republican governor pointed out.
“You’ve had all kinds of really bad policies throughout our country that has limited freedom,” DeSantis added. “And you’re going to turn around for that, and you’re going to do $450,000 for an individual that came illegally to this country?”
While most Republicans and conservative pundits are indeed focused on the dollar amount, something Biden insists is garbage, the question is, does the number following the dollar sign matter at all?
What amount of payments to illegal immigrants is acceptable? $350,000? $200,000? Isn’t $10,000 too much?
“If he’s not okay with $450,000, how much money is he okay giving these illegal immigrants?” Doocy asked the Deputy Press Secretary.
Jean, however, refused to express what Biden is comfortable with in that regard, avoiding an answer and deflecting to the DOJ.
“This is something that the Department of Justice is going to handle” she replied. “I just laid out what he was thinking and how this is — the process was moving forward. The DOJ will talk to the specifics of this.”
Jean proceeded to focus on the Trump administration’s policy of separating adults from children at the border – a continuation of previous administrations policies – suggesting the former President was actually to blame for them potentially having to pay illegals for their ‘trauma.’
“This is coming from the last administration’s cruel, inhuman, immoral — immoral policies against — against just people,” she claimed.
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