The Biden administration is considering paying out a whopping $450,000 per person to families who crossed illegally and were separated at the border, but only offers $100,000 to families of service members killed in combat and almost nothing to those who suffer from drone strikes abroad.
The government is currently trying to settle with migrants who say the policy, which in some cases separated them from their children for months at a time, caused them lasting psychological damage.
But in 2020 alone, US drone strikes killed, injured and obliterated the homes of dozens in the Middle East and no compensation was awarded.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act allocated $3 million in such condolence payments, but the Pentagon failed to dole it out, according to its annual report to Congress.
The Defense Department recorded 23 civilian deaths and 10 injuries in Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq, though human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations say the number is likely much higher.
Airwars, a not-for-profit that tracks civilian harm in combat zones, counted 102 casualties as a result of US strikes.
And after a hasty retaliatory drone strike on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in one family, including children, and blew the family home to rubble, the US had not forked over any cash as of mid-October.
The Defense Department has promised to compensate the remaining members of the Ehmadi family, but did not respond to DailyMail.com when asked if the money has yet been doled out and how much will be awarded.
And after a hasty retaliatory drone strike on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in one family, including children, and blew the family home to rubble, the US had not forked over any cash as of mid-October
The Defense Department has promised to compensate the remaining members of the Ehmadi family, but did not respond to DailyMail.com when asked if the money has yet been doled out and how much will be awarded
Over the past five years, the US has awarded around $2 million in sympathy payments to the family members of those wrongfully killed – while a single migrant family with two people who were separated could be awarded nearly half that
Over the past five years, the US has awarded around $2 million in sympathy payments to the family members of those wrongfully killed – while a single migrant family with two people who were separated could be awarded nearly half that.
Most ex gratia payments, as they’re known, are small – usually between $2,500 and $5,000. One condolence payment in 2019 was a total $131.
The amount under consideration for migrants is also far more than the US government pays to families of US service members who die in combat – $100,000.
The death gratuity payment, as it’s called, is distributed among family members as designated by the service member, who is also eligible to opt in to a life insurance policy that pays out up to $400,000.
‘Biden wants to pay illegal immigrants $450,000 for their hardship while breaking our laws. For perspective, if a service member is killed in action, their next of kin gets an insurance payment of $400,000. Let that sink in,’ Rep. Dan Crenshaw, D-Texas, wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, officials from the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services are considering the payments for migrant families that could total close to $1 million for two people within the same family, people familiar told the Wall Street Journal.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the separated families, has identified about 5,500 children separated from parents at the border during the course of the Trump-era policy.
The total potential payout could cost $1 billion or more.
Former President Trump’s administration enacted the policy that led to family separations in April 2018 and withdrew it two months later after much controversy in June.
The ‘zero-tolerance policy’ applied to families who illegally crossed the US-Mexico border to claim asylum. Since children could not be detained alongside their parents, the families were separated, sometimes with no way to track and reunited them later on, government investigations found.
The Biden administration is considering paying out a whopping $450,000 per person to families separated at the southern border
Officials from the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services are considering the payments that could total close to $1 million for two people within the same family
Now, many families are released into the interior of the US and asked to appear in court at a later date. Some are deported under Title 42, the coronavirus public health policy.
Lawsuits allege that the separated children were housed in poor conditions, and sometimes suffered from malnutrition or heat exhaustion or were kept in freezing cold rooms and offered little medical care. Lawyers for the families argue the children have suffered long-lasting trauma from the anxiety of being without their parents.
They seek a range of payouts, averaging $3.4 million per family, according to the WSJ.
Under the Biden administration, many families are released into the interior of the US and asked to appear in court at a later date
Some are deported under Title 42, the coronavirus public health policy
The Biden administration has repeatedly deemed the policy cruel and inhumane and promised to reunited families still separated.
Earlier this month, Michelle Brane, head of the Family Reunification Task Force, said that the Biden team had only been able to reunite 52 of the over 1,000 families separated under the policy who have not yet found each other.
‘We estimate that over 1,000, somewhere between 1,000, 1,500, maybe more remain separated,’ Brane said on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Oct. 12. ‘It’s very hard to know because there’s no record.’
She added: ‘So there’s nowhere to go to find out who was separated or not. It really is case-by-case detective work.’
The task force is reportedly in the process of reuniting 200 more.
Reunited families are then given a three-year grant of parole, allowing them to live and work legally in the US for that period, but are not offered a pathway to citizenship.
Lawyers for both the families and the government have said that they are working on settlements and hope to be finished by the end of November.
But some government lawyers are outraged at the payments under discussion, which they view as excessive for people who knowingly broke the law by crossing the border. One government lawyer threatened to remove his name from the case in protest of the potential settlement offer.
One government attorney said that the payouts could amount to more than the government paid to the families of 9/11 victims. Another disputed that comparison, as the US government had not been directly responsible for the 9/11 attack. Payouts averaged $2 million, tax-free, per family, according to the paper.
A record 1.7 million families were encountered trying to enter the US illegally in the 2021 fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, up from a record 1.6 million in 2000. Over 479,000 families were encountered, along with an unusually high number of unaccompanied children – 147,000.
Meanwhile, Republicans were quick to condemn the report.
‘I just about fell out of my chair when I read this. For the sake of our country, I hope this reporting is in error. This would be an OUTRAGE,’ Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
‘UNACCEPTABLE Report says Biden admin considering payments of 450k per person 2ppl who crossed the border ILLEGALLY Those are taxpayers dollars We should not be paying anything to ppl who break our laws,’ Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote on Twitter.
‘Joe Biden wants to raise your taxes, but give $450,000 to illegal immigrants. Biden is putting America last,’ said Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo.
‘Under @POTUS @JoeBiden: Pay more for #gasoline, #groceries, home heating, & everyday living necessities,’ Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, wrote on Twitter.
‘Joe Biden gave Americans a $1300 check but wants to give illegal immigrants $450,000, which is more than the 9/11 victims compensation fund. Amidst rising inflation, this is how he wants to spend your money. Priorities,’ Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., wrote on Twitter.