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It was reported in October that the Biden administration was in talks to potentially offer settlements of up to $450,000 to resolve lawsuits filed on behalf of parents and children who were separated at the border during the Trump administration.
Asked about the potential $450,000 payments a few days later, Biden said: “That’s not going to happen.”
The following day, a White House spokesperson said Biden was reacting to the dollar amount reported, but supported settlement talks. Those broke down Dec. 16.
Businessman Jim Lamon is seeking to win a GOP Senate primary in Arizona, defeat Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly and possibly help Republicans retake control of the Senate.
One path he sees is through immigration rhetoric.
Perhaps the most explosive claim, however, attacks President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
A Lamon ad that’s running on Facebook and Instagram shows an image that resembles a bank check and bears the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign logo. The purported check is written to "Illegal Immigrants" for $450,000.
Text around the check says: "Do you support giving illegal immigrants $450,000 checks?" Together, they give the impression that this was something Biden wants to do.
The ad, which started running Jan. 11 and was still active as of Jan. 26, links to a page that solicits donations to Lamon’s campaign.
But the claim is inaccurate, and the basis for it is several weeks out of date.
The claim relates to the aftermath of a Trump administration policy that led to thousands of children, including infants, being separated from their parents upon their arrival at the southern border.
The policy was a key component of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration, aimed at deterring people from coming to the U.S. without permission. But it also affected families who were seeking asylum due to persecution or security fears in their home countries. In those cases, they were following the protocols for seeking asylum.
Amid a public outcry, Trump in June 2018 issued an executive order to keep children and parents together in detention. Federal authorities have since struggled to reunite all the families who were separated because of poor recordkeeping when the policy was in place, and trouble locating parents who had been deported.
Biden denounced the policy as a "moral and national shame" and set up a task force to coordinate reunification of families. In late October, news reports said the Biden administration was in talks to settle lawsuits filed on behalf of parents and children who were separated.
"Many of the lawsuits describe lasting mental-health problems for the children from the trauma of the months without their parents in harsh conditions, including anxiety, a fear of strangers and nightmares," the Wall Street Journal reported.
The settlement offers being discussed were up to $450,000 a person, the reports said.
On Nov. 3, a few days after the news reports, Biden was asked by a reporter about the prospect of $450,000 payments.
"That’s not going to happen," Biden replied.
The next day, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden had reacted to "the dollar figure," but that he was "perfectly comfortable" with the Justice Department trying to settle the cases. She said the department "made clear to the plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land."
We emailed Lamon’s campaign asking for information to back up the statement in his ad. A reply referred to a fact-check we did on a claim about Biden and the talks that was made in October — before Biden’s remark and before the settlement talks ended. But even that fact-check cited reporting that Biden had "seemingly expressed disagreement with the $450,000 figure."
Lamon gained attention earlier this month with another ad that attacked Biden with a phrase that has become a proxy for an anti-Biden epithet. Yahoo said it refused to run the ad because the phrase is "overly inflammatory and offensive," according to news reports.
Lamon said the Biden-Harris administration "wants to hand out $450,000 to illegal immigrants."
It was reported in October that the Biden administration was in talks to potentially offer settlements of up to $450,000 a person to resolve lawsuits filed on behalf of parents and children who were separated at the border under the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policy. The families included people who were legally seeking asylum in the U.S.
When asked a few days later about the $450,000 figure, Biden said, "That’s not going to happen." By Dec. 16, settlement talks ended.
We found no evidence to support the claim that the Biden administration wants to hand out $450,000 to any group of immigrants.
We rate the statement False.
Facebook, Jim Lamon ad ID: 500268001422207, started running Jan 11, 2022; accessed Jan. 26, 2022
Email, Jim Lamon campaign, Jan. 26, 2022
Winred.com, Jim Lamon campaign donation solicitation, accessed Jan. 25, 2022
New York Times, "Biden Rejects $450,000 Payments for Separated Migrants," Nov. 3, 2021
New York Times, "Family Members Separated at Border May Each Get Up to $450,000," Oct. 28, 2021
Wall Street Journal, "U.S. in Talks to Pay Hundreds of Millions to Families Separated at Border," Oct. 28, 2021
The White House, "Remarks by President Biden on the Authorization of the COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5 to 11," Nov. 3, 2021
The Hill, "DOJ says it won't agree to payments to families separated at border," Dec. 16, 2021
The White House, "Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre," Nov. 4, 2021
PolitiFact, "Steil’s claim that Biden admin will pay out $450,000 to illegal immigrants is lacking information," Nov. 12, 2021
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