How much does the United States owe to immigrant families whose children were separated from them as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” approach to border crossings that began in May 2018? Is it $450,000 per person affected by the callous policy, a figure recently reported by the Wall Street Journal? More? Less?
President Biden says he doesn’t know how much these children and their parents are owed, but he absolutely believes they are owed something. “If in fact, because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration,” he said Nov. 6, “you coming across the border, whether it was legal or illegal, and you lost your child, you lost your child! … you deserve some kind of compensation no matter what the circumstance.”
Many on the right have challenged that reasoning. After all, they argue, the parents broke the law to cross the border, and should have known they were risking arrest and family separation.