President Joe Biden on Wednesday insisted his administration was not considering paying migrant families separated under the Trump administration $450,000 per person.
"That’s not going to happen," Biden told media members, the Washington Examiner reported.
The Wall Street Journal last week reported the Biden administration could pay illegal immigrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border $450,000 per person in settlements.
Biden admitted that paying migrants could motivate more people to try to enter the U.S. illegally.
"If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah, but it's not true," he said.
The ACLU, though, tweeted that the president "may not have been fully briefed about the actions of his very own DOJ."
"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," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said, the New York Post reported.
"We call on President Biden to right the wrongs of this national tragedy."
Asked about Biden’s comment on Wednesday, a Justice Department spokeswoman said "the department will not comment on ongoing litigation," The New York Times reported.
Families were separated under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ April 2018 "zero tolerance" policy of prosecuting all adults apprehended after illegally crossed the border. Trump signed an order to end family separations in June 2018.
Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of parents and children who blame government for leaving them with "lasting psychological trauma," according to the Journal, which added that about 940 claims had been filed.
The Journal reported that the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services were considering payments to migrants. Although the amounts have not ben finalized, the news outlet reported the total could be almost $1 million for a family.
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Friday said it was "incomprehensibly stupid" that the Biden administration is planning to pay illegal immigrants who were separated from their parents $450,000 each.
"Of course, their whole policy at the southern border has been a disaster from day one," Pence told Fox News Channel." "By implementing what is known as the remain-in-Mexico policy, we reduced illegal immigration by 90%. President Biden rescinded that policy on day one."
Biden spoke and answered questions Wednesday, the day after Democrats suffered a stunning defeat in the Virginia gubernatorial race and shockingly almost lost the New Jersey governor’s race.
The president blamed former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s loss in Virginia on the number of "very conservative folks who turned out in districts."
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