Biden’s appalling $450,000 giveaway

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Choosing the most appalling of Joe Biden’s proposals is difficult. There are so many of them. One stands out for its sheer hideousness: giving $450,000 to each illegal immigrant separated from a child during President Trump’s short-lived 2018 Zero Tolerance policy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services are considering payments that could amount to $1.5 million or more for an individual family unit. The total payout could amount to $1 billion.

When first questioned about the payouts, President Biden dismissed the idea. “Garbage,” he called it. “Would the payments incentivize more people to cross the border illegally?” a reporter asked Biden. “If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah,” Biden replied angrily. “But it’s not true. That’s not going to happen,” he insisted.

Apparently, Biden was unaware of what his own bureaucrats were doing because only days later, he changed his tune. “[Biden] made it clear that he did in fact support such payments,” reported Fox News, “but said it was ‘the number I was referring to’ when he called the reports ‘garbage.’” Seriously? They “deserve some kind of compensation,” Biden said, although he claimed he has “no idea” what the dollar amount would be.

The payments are reportedly part of settlement negotiations resulting from lawsuits filed by parents and children who say the U.S. government’s actions subjected them to lasting psychological trauma. When you break the law and go to jail, you can’t sue the government for psychological trauma. These people, who flagrantly violated our immigration laws, think they deserve to be designated as a special case.

The implication is that it was not a crime to cross the border illegally; the only crime was the one perpetrated by the U.S. government. As reported by the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal entry to the U.S. is both a civil offense and a criminal offense. An alien’s first illegal entry offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and up to six months’ imprisonment, or both. Repeat illegal reentry is a felony, punishable by a fine and up to two years in prison, or both. Someone please tell Joe Biden.

The separation issue goes back to 2015, when a federal judge ruled that the government should release all minors—accompanied and unaccompanied—from DHS custody. As a direct result, the Obama Administration chose to ignore the mandatory detention requirement for adults by releasing adult parents or guardians who unlawfully brought an alien child to the border. This caused a 700% increase in “separated family units” from 2017-2018. In 2018, the Trump Administration tried to stem the flow by initiating its Zero Tolerance policy that directed federal prosecutors along the southern border to prosecute all aliens who entered illegally, no exceptions.

Biden’s payout idea may be nothing more than an attempt to disparage Donald Trump. “If in fact, because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration,” Biden said on Nov. 6, “you came in across the border, whether it was legal or illegal, and you lost your child, you lost your child! You deserve some kind of compensation no matter what the circumstance.” That’s right, Joe, blame it all on Trump.

Critics of the payouts point out that illegal aliens would receive more money than the families of 9/11 victims and the families of our fallen troops. “In nine months,” according to the Center for Immigration Studies, “the Biden administration has essentially opened the southern border to a record level of illegal immigration, refused to enforce immigration law in the interior, and now is reportedly on the verge of making some illegal aliens wealthy at taxpayer expense. Is there any doubt how foreign nationals around the world will respond?”

“Imagine the impact it will have,” Joe Concha wrote in The Hill, “on those in Central America, Haiti and other parts of the world who are thinking of coming to the U.S. and need a little more incentive to make the long, dangerous trek: a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, along with the ability to live in America permanently. It might as well be called the Caravan Incentive Project.” 

“It’s hard to imagine how the Biden administration could more thoroughly mishandle the catastrophe at the border,” said Concha. “The data says it all: The U.S. is on pace to take more than 2.3 million people into the country this year. That’s more than the populations of Boston, Washington, D.C., and Denver combined. And the numbers just keep going up, not down, despite Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas saying with a straight face that the border is closed.”

The timing could not be worse. Gas prices are way up, inflation is at a 30-year high, and home heating costs are projected to rise more than 50% this winter. “And the cost of food has jumped so much that this will be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever,” said Concha. agreed: “As Americans have seen gas prices go up roughly 60-75% since the beginning of the year, with bacon somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 a pound, and with many consumer goods in limited supply, the Biden administration is looking to give us the equivalent of a good solid kick to the gonads.”

Republicans have expressed outrage. They view the payments as rewarding illegal behavior, as yet another incentive to would-be migrants, and a worsening of the ongoing crisis at the border. “They’re going to allow people that broke the law to have the IRS send them half-a-million dollars, essentially of your taxpayer money,” said Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw. “Think about that. President Biden cares more about the children in Haiti and Honduras than he does the children of American taxpayers. It’s not only unspeakable, it’s unconscionable, it’s unconstitutional.” 

California Rep. Tom McClintock, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, has introduced the Illegal Immigrant Payoff Prohibition Act of 2021. The legislation would prevent the Attorney General from making settlement payments to individuals and families who entered the United States illegally. “Who says crime doesn’t pay? Under Biden it apparently pays very well indeed,” said McClintock. “Law-abiding, hardworking Americans have seen their purchasing power decimated by Biden’s economic policies while he has surrendered our southern border. Paying illegal immigrants $450,000 apiece as an apology for Trump’s decision to enforce our immigration law adds insult to injury. Congress has the power of the purse, and that’s why we must act today to stop this outrageous plan in its tracks.”

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy co-sponsored the bill. “With all the challenges Americans are facing every day—including an unprecedented border crisis—providing $450,000 per person settlement payments to illegal immigrants is pure insanity,” said McCarthy. “This is not only an insult to the American people, but also will worsen the border crisis and lead to a business boom for drug cartels and human traffickers, who are already exploiting Democrats’ disastrous border policies.”

And the winner is? Keep your fingers crossed.

Ed Brodow is a conservative political commentator, negotiation expert, and author of eight books including Tyranny of the Minority: How the Left is Destroying America. He is a former US Marine officer, Fortune 500 sales executive, and Hollywood movie actor.


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