(Headline USA) The U.S. Justice Department is considering a move to give hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to each child and parent who was separated at the border while trying to illegally enter America, a person familiar with discussions to settle lawsuits said Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the government was considering payments around $450,000 to each person affected. The king’s ransom would compensate for alleged psychological trauma suffered during the process of illegally entering the country.
A person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press that figure was under consideration but changed, though not dramatically. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.
The discussions continue, and there is no guarantee the two sides will strike agreement.
About 5,500 children were split from their parents under President Donald Trump‘s immigration policy, which sometimes included separating adults from children for safety reasons while criminal prosecution was ongoing for crossing the border illegally, according to court filings in a federal case in San Diego. Inadequate tracking systems caused many to be apart for what some considered an extended time.
Attorneys for the families are also seeking permanent legal status in the United States for those separated under the practice, which a judge halted in June 2018, six days after Trump stopped it amid a furor of leftist outrage.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.
The settlement talks involve several law firms. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing parents in the San Diego case.
The National Immigration Litigation Alliance represents five mothers and their children who were separated for more than two months, including four children who were sent to holding facilities in New York. A federal judge in Arizona denied the government’s bid to dismiss the case last year.
“No amount of money can compensate for the amount of pain and suffering these parents and children endured under this unconscionable and unprecedented policy,” said Trina Realmuto, executive director of the National Immigration Litigation Alliance, while conveniently omitting the uncomfortable fact that those parents and children were breaking the law while enduring the alleged pain and suffering.
A report earlier this year from the highly partisan and left-leaning Justice Department opined that a “single-minded focus on increasing immigration prosecutions came at the expense of careful and appropriate consideration of the impact of family unit prosecutions and child separations.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press