Nearly four dozen GOP congress members sent a letter to the Biden Administration’s various agency heads on Friday, demanding answers to a report that they are considering paying illegal immigrants who crossed the U.S. border illegally in 2018, $450,000 in compensation each.
Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) led 43 colleagues to seek answers from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and Department of Justice’s Attorney General Merrick Garland about a recent report from the Wall Street Journal about the compensation plan.
The WSJ report said that the Biden administration is in talks with groups like The American Civil Liberties Union which is representing illegal immigrants who filed one of the lawsuits. The reports said there are currently 940 claims filed by illegal immigrants and the total payout to families could be $1 billion.
Murphy said he could not believe the reports about the Biden administration that they would even consider compensating those that broke U.S. laws to enter the country.
“We are a nation of laws, and our laws must be enforced. Promising tens of thousands of dollars to those who unlawfully entered the United States would not only reward criminal behavior, but it would surely send a message to the world that our borders are open, and or rule of law will not be enforced,” the House GOP letter states.
“If your Administration decides to give out financial compensation to thousands of illegal immigrants in the amount of roughly one-half of a million dollars, you will unilaterally incentivize migrants from more than 150 nations across the world to surge our border,” the letter continues.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the illegal immigrants says the children who were separated from their parents at the border in 2018 faced some sort of “lasting psychological trauma.”
“The suffering and trauma inflicted on these little children and parents are horrific,” said Lee Gelernt, the ACLU’s lead lawyer in the family separation lawsuit, Ms. L v. ICE, which was filed in 2019. In a 2021 statement, he says that not only should families be reunited but compensated for their suffering.
“The incoming administration must reunite the separated families in the United States, but we cannot stop there. These families deserve citizenship, resources, care, and a commitment that family separation will never happen again,” said the lead lawyer for the illegal immigrants.
The lawmakers say the compensation for illegal immigrants as compared to the average income in the United States, which is 68,000, is unacceptable.
“Furthermore, compare it to the maximum payout from a SGLI life insurance policy for military members, which is $400,000. The idea that we would give illegal foreigners who broke the law a check that exceeds the amount that our government supplies to our valiant and heroic Gold Star Families is shameful, reprehensible, and morally indignant.”
The Republicans argue that taxpayer money should not be used to reward illegal entry into the United States, no matter what the circumstance.
“As Members of Congress, we are extremely alarmed that this misguided policy shows that the Administration wants to treat illegal immigrants better than law-abiding citizens who create families and contribute to our economy through hard, legal work. We are the country of the strong and the brave, not the country of exploitation and shortcuts,” the members wrote.
The Republicans urge the administration to reconsider any such compensation plans.
The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment on the alleged compensation plan by the time of publication.