“If in fact, because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration, you coming across the border, whether it was legal or illegal, you lost your child… You deserve some kind of compensation no matter what the circumstances,” Biden said, referring to former President Donald Trump's “zero tolerance” policy that separated families at the border.
The Justice Department is reportedly considering payouts of $450,000 per individual to settle lawsuits against the federal government by families separated by Trump's policy, and up to a million dollars per family.
Biden reversed his earlier comment that stories about the payments were “garbage” and “not true” and expressed outrage about Trump's policy.
The president signaled support for the payouts but did not cite a specific amount.
“What that will be, I have no idea,” he said.
The White House has struggled to defend the payments, as Republicans raise concerns that it will only exacerbate the migrant crisis.
After Biden signaled he did not support the payments, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed multiple lawsuits against the federal government on behalf of border crossers ,said the president “may not have been fully briefed” about the Justice Department's plan.
Since then, the White House has walked back Biden's comments, telling reporters the president was “perfectly comfortable” with the idea.