Senior White House adviser Cedric Richmond said Sunday that whether immigrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border receive monetary settlements — and how much — will be up to the Justice Department to decide.
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Richmond also blasted the argument that government payments to families separated under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy could incentivize more people to illegally cross the southern border.
“I want to be clear about this: We do not tell the Department of Justice what to do,” Richmond said. “If DOJ determines that it saves the taxpayers money and it rights a wrong, then they will make the determination that is necessary and, I would assume, if they make a determination, they’ll come up with what they think is an adequate dollar amount.”
Richmond’s comments come after President Joe Biden backed the possibility of compensation for immigrants who lost children at the border. Biden on Saturday said parents who lost children “deserve some kind of compensation no matter what the circumstances” and slammed the Trump administration for “outrageous behavior” on immigration.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the Justice, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security departments are considering estimated payments of $450,000 per person to immigrant families separated at the border under the Trump-era policy in order to resolve lawsuits.
Biden dismissed the report last week, telling reporters Wednesday that the $450,000 payments are “not going to happen.” The White House later said that Biden was specifically reacting to the dollar figure and is “perfectly comfortable” with a settlement with families now in litigation with U.S. government, but deferred to the Justice Department on further details.
By Connor O’brien for POLITICO
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