Families Separated at the Border May Get Up to $450,000 in Compensation Under Biden Administration: Report

Thousands of migrant children were separated from their families during former President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy before he reversed the practice

family separation
Honduran asylum-seeker, 2, cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty

Some migrant families who were separated at the U.S. border with Mexico during the Trump administration may receive thousands of dollars in compensation for the ordeal and any damages the policy may have caused them, The New York Times reports.

Officials in President Joe Biden's administration are negotiating with lawyers representing the families, who could get up to $450,000 for each member who was directly affected by the family separation policy, according to the Times.

Sources told the paper that negotiations are ongoing, however, and that some family members may receive much less than that amount. (A White House spokesman referred PEOPLE's questions about the Times report to the Department of Justice, where a spokeswoman declined to comment.)

More than 5,500 children were separated from their families under President Donald Trump's controversial "zero-tolerance" immigration policy before he signed an executive order in June 2018 reversing the practice, which had drawn overwhelming backlash.

While the policy was in place, Border Patrol agents charged adult migrants with illegally entering the U.S., detained them and then sent their children to shelters across the country.

Central American migrant children remain outside the Puente Nuevo border station in the municipality of Matamoros, in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, in October 2019. Abraham Pineda Jácome/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Biden administration continued the work of reuniting families earlier this year after the president signed an executive order which created the Task Force on the Reunification of Families.

Some parents who were deported after they were separated from their children have been allowed to return to the U.S. for a limited time as part of the reunion.

The Times reports that in addition to financial compensation, the negotiations on a settlement with affected families includes access to mental health services like counseling for parents and kids who were torn apart.

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