President Joe Biden‘s administration might dish out money, social services, and permanent status for illegal immigrants as part of a settlement agreement with hundreds of families separated during the Trump era.
At least 1,000 migrants expelled from the United States while some of their family members remained inside the country as part of former President Donald Trump‘s “zero-tolerance” policy have been represented by lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit known as the Ms. L case.
“The ACLU is in settlement negotiations with the Biden administration to provide full relief to the thousands of separated families, not just reunification in the U.S. but permanent status, compensation, and social services,” Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney for the ACLU, told NBC News on Wednesday.
“We are hopeful this will get done,” he continued. “And we will continue to pressure the Biden administration to move as quickly as possible.”
Four families split up during Trump’s illegal immigration crackdown are set to be reunited within the week. The former president was said to have divided 5,500 family units throughout his term as parents were prosecuted by border authorities for unlawful crossings while children were held in Department of Health and Human Services custody.
Many of those families were previously brought back together with a number of court orders, though some deported in 2017 were not yet known at the time.
The Biden administration’s plan will only work if it “stays the course,” Gelernt said.
“The key will be that the Biden administration stays the course because there is a lot to do,” he added. “It is one thing to get a few families back, but a whole other thing to scale up the process, so it works smoothly for more than 1,000 families who remain separated, not to mention getting benefits for the thousands of others who need them.”
The Department of Homeland Security, which under Biden has initiated a task force to reunify families, said it is committed to the goal, though it did not provide specifics on monetary benefits and immigration status that may be afforded to the illegal immigrants.
“The Task Force is actively working to develop a system for processing and reunifying over a thousand families and to set up a system to provide mental health support and stability to thousands more families who are here in the United States and still trying to heal from the trauma caused by their separation,” a DHS spokesperson told NBC News. “This is only the beginning, and the government cannot do this work alone. We are committed to working with the private sector and with the NGOs, attorneys, and advocates who have done tremendous work in support of these families.”
The Biden administration has faced bipartisan backlash for its handling of the crisis at the southern border. The White House has directed Immigration and Customs and Enforcement to drastically reduce the number of arrests and deportations of migrants, some of whom are criminals, leading to a record low number of apprehensions for the month of April.
There has been an unprecedented surge at the U.S.-Mexico border where thousands continue to surge into the country since the end of the Trump administration at the beginning of 2021.
Neither the ACLU nor DHS immediately responded to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.
Source: Washington Examiner : Biden might dish out money and social services for hundreds of migrants deported under Trump