It goes without saying: No one should get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for entering our country illegally. But late last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration was considering payments of up to $450,000 each to illegal aliens who were caught illegally entering our country in 2018. A family of four could receive almost $2 million. There’s since been a confused back-and-forth. When Biden was initially asked about paying illegal aliens, he gave a refreshingly honest answer: He called the reports “garbage” and waved the topic off. The rare moment of honesty with the American people did not last long. White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre later said the Biden administration might be open to it. Then, on Saturday, Biden said such illegal immigrants “deserve some kind of compensation.” Events like this show how beholden Biden is to the far-left open-borders lobby and his own staff. It’s not a common thing in American politics for a president to contradict himself so plainly and openly.
This all stems from a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of illegal-alien families. They claim that their constitutional rights were violated in 2018 when they were detained, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws, without their children.
Unfortunately, this gambit is nothing new. It follows in the footsteps of the Obama era’s “Sue and Settle” strategy. It worked like this: The administration would invite lawsuits from politically connected groups, usually over regulations, and then settle, acquiescing to the demands and setting new standards that circumvented the regulatory process. This often involved big payouts to the political allies posing as legal adversaries.
The ACLU suit dovetails nicely with the mission of the president’s Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families. Created just two weeks after President Biden took office, the task force has a two-fold mission: to get money to illegal aliens via legal settlements and to find illegal aliens deported during the Trump administration and bring them back into the United States.
Congress could do a few things. First, it could expressly prohibit any settlement money going to illegal aliens. Full stop. It’s really that simple.
Next, it could disband the task force and demand a full accounting of all its activities and meetings. The American people deserve to know which government officials lined up with open-borders advocates to raid the Treasury.
Finally, Congress could put some commonsense limits on the ability of the executive branch to enter into these types of settlements. Requiring congressional approval for settlements above a certain amount would be a good start.
It’s past time for Congress to step in. The Biden administration has shown no interest in stopping the worst border crisis in American history. In fact, it seems to be doing everything it can to make the crisis worse. Biden officials are trying to find a way to avoid complying with a federal judge’s order to reinstate the Remain in Mexico program. They are working with congressional allies to try to ram through the largest amnesty for illegal aliens in U.S. history in a reconciliation bill. And they are trying to circumvent our immigration laws by designing a system in which bureaucrats grant asylum at the border to anyone who shows up and says the magic word “asylum.”
The overwhelming majority of those who come here illegally do so for economic reasons. To help some illegal aliens hit the jackpot at the American taxpayers’ expense would only encourage more to come. It would also encourage more lawyers to dream up ways to get in on the action, too.
This piece originally appeared in The National Review