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Lankford Pushes to Stop Biden’s $450,000 Payments to Migrants at the Southern Border

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on his amendment on YouTube. 

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), the lead Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, today offered an amendment to the Countering Human Trafficking Act of 2021 during a business meeting of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Lankford’s amendment would stop Biden’s Department of Justice from “settling” lawsuits out of court for hundreds of thousands of dollars brought by migrants who crossed the border illegally and whose families were separated at the border. Lankford supports keeping families together at the border wherever possible.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Biden Administration is considering entering into settlement agreements with illegal border crossers being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that would pay migrants up to $450,000 per person with the total amount taxpayers will be forced to pay at more than $1 billion and many settlements exceeding the settlements given to 9/11 victims. Lankford immediately slammed these payments on social media and posited that these payments would put the migrant recipients into Biden’s “rich” tax bracket since they would each receive more than $400,000 from US taxpayers.

Lankford’s amendment prevents the Biden Administration’s use of “sue and settle” to allow the ACLU to drive Biden’s progressive open-borders agenda. His amendment requires that these cases go to court and a judge and jury assess whether wrongdoing occurred. His amendment would disband the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families and require the money for any awards decided by a court to come from the salaries of the Task Force, not American taxpayers. Democrats blocked Lankford’s amendment from passing.

Transcript of Lankford’s remarks on his amendment

Last week, I would hope that we were all a little surprised when there was leaked out information that came from a meeting at the White House with the Interagency Task Force on Family Reunification and White House staff and the ACLU, where apparently at that meeting, there was an agreement made that there will be payments of $450,000 per person to individuals that were quote-unquote separated at the border—individuals that had illegally crossed our border and that were now going to be paid $450,000 for that separation time.

The interesting thing is, the definition of for the Interagency Task Force on Family Reunification stretches from January 20th, 2017, to January 20th, 2021. The zero-tolerance policy in the Trump Administration was from April 6th, 2018, to June 20th, 2018. But the definition seems to be much wider. Now, we do not know how many individuals that this settlement agreement applies to. We also do not know how many individuals have been already given parole, as they have hinted from the Interagency Task Force that they are allocating parole to individuals. So these are individuals that have legal status in the United States already, but now apparently they are going to be given $450,000 a person. We’ve asked for details on this; we’ve been given nothing. So this simple amendment is this: in a bill that’s dealing with human trafficking, border security is important, not incentivizing individuals to illegally cross the border is also important.

We know what coyotes do in Central America. We have no question about it. They take whatever piece of news they take from the American government, they deliver that to individuals that are vulnerable in Central America, and they say, ‘If you go now—pay us now as a coyote—but if you go now to America, here’s what you’re going to get.’ There is no question that this will be the news in Central America, that if you go now, you’re going to get $450,000 if you cross. Now, just as a reminder, for our veterans that are killed in the line of duty, they are paid $100,000, is what the military calls the ‘death gratuity.’ This is consideration apparently that they’re going to pay $450,000 to individuals who had illegally crossed the border and who had been separated during that time period.

The majority of American people, I don’t even have to ask them, if they think that people that had illegally crossed the border should get $450,000 and families that died in the line of duty serving in our military should get $100,000. I don’t even have to ask that question. I already know where they are. This is a straight-forward proposal to say, ‘We need to set aside this Interagency Task Force. We need to not agree to the settlement agreements that they’re making behind closed doors and pulling it out of the judgment fund. And if they’re going to pay individuals $450,000 after they illegally cross the border, that money should be taken from the salary of the individuals in the Interagency Task Force, not from the American people. So that’s this proposal.