DOJ Stops Settlement Talks in Family Border Separation Cases


The Justice Department has stopped negotiations with lawyers representing migrant families who were separated at the border and says it’s ready to return to court, according to one of the attorneys. 

The DOJ hasn’t commented about why it stopped the talks, but the news comes after the White House came under fire over news that payments of up to $450,000 — to which President Joe Biden objected  — were under consideration for the immigrant families, reports CNN. 

The decision to pull back on the negotiations is “shameful,” said American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt. 

“The U.S. government deliberately abused young children and yet the Biden administration has allowed politics to stand in the way of making it right. That’s shameful,” Gelernt told CNN through a statement.

Zachary Manfredi, litigation director for the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, said the Biden administration “officially broke its promise” to the families that were separated when they entered the United States. 

“The Biden administration has chosen to defend the policy of family separation in court,” he told CNN.

Under former President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, more than 3,000 migrant children and their families were separated at the border. 

Attorneys are still trying to find the parents of 270 children, according to a separate court filing in November. 

The ACLU is seeking damages for the toll separations have taken on families, while attorneys representing the families themselves had filed separate legal claims. 

After Biden rejected the $450,000 restitution payments, the DOJ said any settlements wouldn’t go that high, and attorneys for the immigrants said there is too much “lack of clarity” about what the government will do for the families. 

Meanwhile, the zero-tolerance policy ended after it was widely opposed, but not before thousands of families, including people with infants, were separated at the border because the adults were being been tried as criminals and held in jails where children could not be.