A day after President Joe Biden denied that border crossers could be paid off nearly half a million each as part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement, his White House admits that such payouts will happen “if it saves taxpayer dollars.”
Last month, reports circulated that Biden’s DOJ, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were working to settle with a number of border crossers represented by the ACLU, who claim they have suffered trauma as a result of former President Donald Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy that was briefly imposed in 2019.
As part of the settlement, attorneys with the DOJ, DHS, and HHS are considering a plan that would give each border crosser about $450,000 and family units about $1 million. The total cost of the payouts would reach $1 billion.
When asked about the payouts on Wednesday, Biden said, “garbage” and “that’s not going to happen.”
On Thursday, though, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed border crossers could secure payouts “if it saves taxpayer dollars” and suggested that Biden does not have much say in a DOJ settlement despite his comments on the issue.
“If it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous of the previous administration … and family separation behind us, the president is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the families who are currently in litigation with the U.S. government,” Jean-Pierre said.
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