Biden Bows to Political Reality, Reverses Policy on Payments to Illegal Immigrants | EDITORIAL
It is much easier to illegally give hundreds of millions of dollars to those in the country when no one knows it.
This is exactly what the Biden administration intended to do, as the Wall Street Journal reported in October. The money would have gone to illegal immigrants who found themselves separated during the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy.
Initial talks – intended to settle ACLU lawsuits on behalf of these immigrants – were for payments of about $ 450,000 per person. For a parent and two children, the windfall could have exceeded $ 1.3 million. Total payments could have approached $ 1 billion.
Giving millions of dollars to illegal immigrants sounded like a conservative parody of liberal immigration policy. Even President Joe Biden initially spoke out against it.
Mr Biden initially called the Journal report “garbage” and insisted the payments of $ 450,000 per person “were not going to happen.” His tone changed a few days later. Apparently, he discovered that his administration was considering just that.
“Whether (crossing the border) is legal or illegal, and you have lost your child,” the president said. “You lost your child, he’s gone – you deserve some sort of compensation, no matter what.”
This position was, however, not politically tenable. Mr. Biden already has low immigration approval rates. This week’s average Real Clear Politics polls on his handling of immigration puts the president nearly 26 points under water. Encouraging illegal immigration with the possibility of spending millions of dollars would have worsened illegal border crossings, which have already reached record levels.
A nod to political reality, the Biden administration has backed down. After the public learned of the payments, the Justice Department withdrew a written offer it had made. Last week, the Journal reported that the government had completely halted settlement talks. Cases will now be handled individually. More than 900 families have filed claims, asking for more than $ 3 million per family.
It appears that one of the reasons the Biden administration sought the settlement was to avoid the lens of fighting these families in court. But taxpayers shouldn’t shell out $ 1 billion to help a presidential administration avoid upsetting party activists.
“It’s good to see the Biden administration come to their senses and abandon their plan to potentially distribute billions of dollars to illegal immigrants,” R-Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said in a statement. “This kind of senseless scheme would have diverted federal dollars to people who would knowingly break our immigration laws.”
As Mr. Biden discovered, public pressure and common sense can be a powerful combination.