Border Crisis: Judiciary Committee GOP Demand DOJ Explain Settlement With ACLU Over Separated Migrants
“As if the Department’s stipulation is not egregious enough, the settlement also allows an illegal alien to escape criminal prosecution for illegally crossing the border solely because the alien is traveling with a child.”
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee demanded the Department of Justice hand over information on its settlement with the ACLU that blocks President Donald Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy concerning separated migrants at the border.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and Subcommittee on Immigration, Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Chairman Tom McClintock sent the letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Under the proposed settlement, certain illegal aliens can receive a grab-bag of U.S. taxpayer-funded services, including behavioral health services, medical assistance, temporary housing support, legal services, and expedited processing — all because in 2018 the U.S. government prosecuted, under the existing criminal code enacted by Congress, illegal aliens for illegally entering the United States with their children,” wrote the two men.
Here are more details of the “grab bag” (DHS emphasis):
- The government will provide behavioral health services for a period of three years. These services are a continuation of the same child-centered pre-reunification counseling, clinical treatment services, behavioral health case management, and parenting support already being provided under an existing contract.
- The government will provide certain medical assistance by covering the cost of the copayments incurred by class members when receiving medical services at Federally Qualified Health Centers during a 12-month eligibility period.
- The government will provide temporary housing support by making housing assistance available to class members as determined necessary by a third-party administrator during a 12-month eligibility period. This may include assistance in locating housing, paying costs necessary to attain housing (e.g., security deposit and first and last month’s rent), and assistance to avoid eviction and meet other emergency housing needs during the 12-month period.
- The government will provide immigration legal services through introductory assistance and tailored legal access services to class members and their families; and programs to place cases with counsel free of charge. These services will be available during the full six-year term of the settlement.
Jordan and McClintock added:
As if the Department’s stipulation is not egregious enough, the settlement also allows an illegal alien to escape criminal prosecution for illegally crossing the border solely because the alien is traveling with a child. Because that legally dubious prohibition in the settlement lasts for eight years, it prevents future administrations from taking definitive steps to control the border. Such a provision also ensures that cartels can exploit yet another dangerous loophole to continue their criminal smuggling and trafficking enterprises. In fact, knowing the Biden Administration refuses to detain family units, cartels already separate minors from their parents and have cartel members pose as the minors’ relatives to ensure quick entry into the United States. The settlement will no doubt have a similar effect, with both children and the American people left to suffer because of the perverse incentives of President Biden’s failed border policies.
In April 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the “new ‘zero-tolerance policy’ for offenses under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a), which prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States by an alien.”
Sessions said: “To those who wish to challenge the Trump Administration’s commitment to public safety, national security, and the rule of law, I warn you: illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice.”
However, a few months later, Trump signed an executive order ending the policy.
But the policy never went away.
President Joe Biden officially rescinded the policy in 2021.
The settlement between the ACLU and DOJ comes from the class action litigation Ms. L., et al. v. ICE, et al.
“Mrs. L” filed a complaint alleging the government “unlawfully separated” her from her child.
The ACLU then amended the complaint to include “parents or legal guardians and their children who were separated at the border between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021.”
The ACLU claimed, “that the separation of putative class member parents from their children violated procedural and substantive due process, as well as the asylum statute.”
Jordan and McClintock want Garland to give them a handful of documents. Those documents include anything related to the decisions that led to the “grab bag” of services, how they got the total costs in those goodies, and the legal basis to limit future criminal charges against illegal aliens.DONATE
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