Lankford Joins Republican Colleagues to Block Taxpayer-funded Payments to Illegal Migrants

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK –  Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 to block President Biden’s reported plan to spend upwards of a billion dollars to provide $450,000 per person in taxpayer money for settlements for illegal immigrants. 

“The Biden Administration absurdly wants to pay a $450,000 settlement to some illegal border crossers who were arrested at the border and separated from their families,” said Lankford. “By comparison, we pay the families of military service members killed in action $100,000 after their hero gave their last full measure of devotion for our nation. I support keeping families together and stopping illegal immigration, but I do not support Biden’s ‘sue and settle’ tactics that keep these cases hidden out of court to quietly give almost half-a-million dollars to people who violated our law. The American people deserve better. I offered an amendment to block these payments, send unsettled cases to court, and pay for it out of federal agency salary funds, but the Democrats blocked it. We’ve got to stop this.”

“Biden’s open border policies have reached a new crazy level. Montana families are struggling with inflation and skyrocketing costs on everything from gas to groceries because of Biden’s wasteful spending policies, and now the President wants to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegal immigrants. Because of Biden, our southern border has been taken over by Mexican cartels and this effort will only continue to incentivize illegal immigration making it worse. This is a gut punch to the American taxpayer,” Daines said. 

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND),Todd Young (R-IN), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley ((R-IA), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Burr (R-NC), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Mike Crapo (R-ID), joined Lankford and Daines in introducing this amendment.

 “Giving out potentially billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to people who broke federal law to enter the country is outrageous and an insult to the American people.  I am proud to support this amendment to ensure the Biden Administration doesn’t do this,” McConnell said. 

“It would be unthinkable to pay damages to a burglar who broke into your home for the ‘psychological trauma’ they endured during the crime. And yet the Biden administration wants to reward migrants who illegally entered our country with up to $450,000 each for just that reason. President Biden’s promises of citizenship and entitlement programs have already caused the worst border crisis in history—a huge cash reward will make it even worse. This is the height of insanity,” Cotton said.

“Sending money to illegal immigrants rewards people for breaking the law, and that only makes the border crisis more dangerous. These settlements with illegal aliens would be a bitter insult to every person who has come to America by respecting our laws and borders. I’m happy to partner with Sen. Daines to prevent the Biden administration from undermining and apologizing for the rule of law,” Kennedy said.

“There are already countless pull factors enticing immigrants to cross our Southern Border illegally.  Nearly 1.5 million illegal crossers have been found by Customs and Border Protection just this year.  Paying those who broke our laws nearly half a million dollars is unconscionable.  This is yet another effort by the Biden Administration to prioritize illegal immigration and a porous border over the best interest of Americans,” Lee said. 

“The Biden administration is in complete denial of the crisis their policies have created at our border. Instead of reinstituting successful policies that stemmed the flow of illegal immigration, President Biden is facilitating the multibillion dollar business model of some of the most evil people on the planet. Offering money to those who break the law will only create a magnet for more illegal immigration. I’m happy to co-sponsor this bill with Sen. Daines to rein in some of Biden’s disastrous border policies,” Johnson said.

“Joe Biden wants to give illegal aliens over four times more money than our Gold Star families that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. It is downright shameful that time and again President Biden chooses to put illegals over law abiding and hardworking Americans. President Biden is not only encouraging, but paying immigrants almost half a million apiece to break the law. The legislation I am joining with Senator Daines and our colleagues will ensure this leftist daydream does not become a reality Tennesseans are forced to pay for,” said Blackburn. 

“It is absurd the Biden administration wants to pay illegal migrants $450,000 for crossing the border and getting caught,” said Cassidy. “This creates a monetary incentive for migrant families to put their children in harms way.”

“People in Wyoming are not interested in bankrolling yet another handout from the federal government, especially to those who broke the law. It’s long past time to secure our borders and begin taking our crippling national debt seriously,” Lummis said. “A $450,000 check to those who crossed our border illegally will not do anything to make our country safer or financially secure. I applaud Senator Daines for standing up for Wyoming citizens, and all Americans, who recognize the absurdity of this proposal from the Biden Administration.”

“At a time where millions of Americans are struggling economically due to record high inflation levels, it’s appalling for the Biden Administration to offer large taxpayer funded payouts to those who violated our immigration laws. President Biden has made it clear where his priorities lie and it’s not with the American people,” Braun said.

“The crisis at the southern border continues to grow and now instead of securing the border and enforcing our laws, the Biden administration is planning to pay $450,000 to individuals who broke our laws. This is not only wrong, but will exacerbate the crisis at the border,” said Hoeven. “Our legislation ensures that the Biden administration does not reward those who broke our laws and entered our country illegally. We need to secure the border and enforce our laws, not provide additional incentives for individuals to come here illegally.” 

“Instead of discouraging illegal entry into the United States, the Biden-Harris Administration wants to hand illegal immigrants a winning lottery ticket. This half-baked scheme is an insult to hardworking Americans who will never see a check that large and the servicemen and women who put their lives on the line for far less,” Young said.  

“Since his candidacy, President Biden has repeatedly signaled that America’s borders are open. It’s no wonder illegal immigration has skyrocketed as a result. Now, the Biden Administration is seeking to pay large sums of money to those who sought to illegally cross our border. This is complete and utter lunacy. I will not allow American taxpayers to be forced into paying reparations to those who broke the law,” Rubio said.

“Just when you thought President Biden’s border crisis or inflation couldn’t get any worse, the President wants to cut $450,000 checks to illegal immigrants on the backs of hardworking American taxpayers. That’s more than Gold Star families receive after their relative is killed in action. This proposal is outrageous and incredibly disrespectful to the loved ones of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Ernst.   


“It’s plain unacceptable to consider payments of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to people who violated our laws. Such a move would just worsen the already record-breaking border crisis, and undermine both common sense and the rule of law. These settlement payments should never have been considered in the first place, but because we can’t rely on the Biden administration to make the right decision, Congress needs to step in to ensure they don’t happen,” Grassley said. 

“Illegal immigration does not deserve a reward, and this proposal sends exactly the wrong message to hardworking families across the country as well as to those who obeyed our laws and followed proper procedure to come to the United States. This plan is the latest example of the Biden administration’s disastrous immigration policies continuing to undermine secure borders and the rule of law, and my colleagues and I will fight every step of the way to defeat it,” Boozman said.

“During the worst border crisis in decades, the last thing this country needs is to use taxpayer funds to add fuel to the fire,” Wicker said. “The Biden Administration should be focused on stopping the flow of people across our border, not giving new incentives to migrants who are considering making the journey.”

“It’s truly mindboggling to think the Biden administration wants to give illegal immigrants six-figure payouts for crossing our border illegally—more than what’s offered to the families of our fallen troops.  I, along with hardworking Mississippians and Americans, am still waiting for the President and his administration to disavow these reports,” Hyde-Smith said.  “The worst of the President’s ongoing border crisis is yet to come if his administration makes these outrageous payments, which will be seen as another signal that the United States has opened its borders.”

“As if President Biden leaving our southern border wide open for thousands of people to pour into our country isn’t enough, now his administration plans to provide hundreds of illegal immigrants with $450,000 each as a reward for breaking the law,” said Marshall. “Incentivizing this type of crime will only exacerbate the crisis at our southern border, and Americans’ tax dollars should not fund this ridiculous stunt led by the Biden Administration.”

“The Biden administration’s handling at our southern border has been nothing short of disastrous. Rewarding illegal immigrants with hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will only incentivize more illegal immigration and increase the flow of illegal drugs across the border and into states like Idaho. We cannot allow this administration to pay people to break our laws,” said Risch.