Border sheriff ‘perplexed’ by Biden admin’s reported payouts to illegal migrants: ‘Failed
An Arizona sheriff is blasting the Biden administration’s reported plan to give millions of dollars in payouts to migrants separated at the southern border, claiming the border has become a “political pathway for illegal entries.”
Last week, the Wall Street Journal first reported that the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services are considering payments of $450,000 per person to those who crossed the border illegally and were separated from family members under a policy enforced by former president Donald Trump.
The proposed settlement is in response to a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups.
The payments could total nearly $1 million per family and $1 billion overall.
Sheriff Mark Dannels of Chochise County, Arizona, a vocal critic of the payouts, says it would make it harder for authorities to stem the tide of illegal migration.
“America’s southern border has become a political pathway for illegal entries highlighted by historical numbers and willful neglect by this administration leaving Americans vulnerable to the practices of the cartels’ criminal behavior,” Dannels told Fox News.
“President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas continue to set aside their Oath of Office to protect America first,” said the sheriff, who chairs the National Sheriffs’ Association Border Committee. “Recent decisions and negotiations by this administration to financially reward those who illegally breached our southern border creates a message that serves to defy our rule of law and fracture our American values and traditions.”
“As a border Sheriff, I stand perplexed by these failed decisions, but stand steadfast in the protection of my citizens and the rule of law as outlined in my Oath of Office.”
Biden on Wednesday dismissed the reports as “garbage” and said that the payments are “not going to happen,” but Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed during a speech at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday that both a path to citizenship and payouts are on the table.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday that Biden “is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with individuals and families currently in litigation with the U.S. government.” She disputed the $450,000 figure, however, stating that the figure is higher than the final amount still yet to be determined.
Also on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling on the Justice Department to clarify its stance on the reported payout plan.
“It should not surprise you to learn that we find these reports outrageous,” McConnell and Grassley state in the letter. “Any settlements to illegal aliens because they violated the law are wrong. These kind of settlements are offensive to the American people.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.