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Joe Biden’s disgraceful cave on family separation


This is both morally disgusting on the merits, and extremely stupid behavior from a purely pragmatic political standpoint:

The Biden administration walked away from negotiations to financially compensate families the Trump administration separated at the border, three lawyers for the families said Thursday.

“There’s no explanation for not settling these cases other than the Biden administration is unwilling to use literally any political capital to help the young children deliberately abused by our government,” said Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Gelernt said the Biden administration “will now be in court not just defending the United States but also the individual federal officials responsible for family separation.” The families had been separated at the border by the Trump administration.

NBC News has reported that the administration had been in talks to offer separated migrant parents and children hundreds of thousands of dollars per person.

The negotiated deal to offer some measure of compensation to families ripped to pieces by the Trump administration’s barbaric policies fell apart because somebody leaked the details of the negotiation to the Wall Street Journal, the fash went predictably nuts about it, and Joe Biden decided that this was a good reason to back out on the whole thing. (BTW if I were Merrick Garland, or rather if we actually had an AG worth a bucket of whale piss, I’d put finding out which of my people leaked this on the top of my Christmas list, so I could personally destroy that person’s legal career in a spectacular enough fashion to encourage the other crypto-fascists in my employ to keep their fucking mouths shut):

Asked at the time about the report, which said separated people could get $450,000 apiece, Biden pushed back.

“It’s not true,” Biden said. “That’s not going to happen.”

Within days, the Justice Department rescinded its offer, said the sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

Biden later walked back his comments at a news conference, signaling support for a settlement.

“If, in fact, because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration, you were coming across the border, whether it was legal or illegal, and you lost your child — you lost your child, it’s gone — you deserve some kind of compensation, no matter what the circumstance,” he said. “What that will be I have no idea. I have no idea.”

If only the Czar knew!

Diana Reiter of Arnold & Porter, one of the lawyers leading the negotiations, said that in the absence of a settlement, her clients would try to bring their cases to trial, potentially forcing the Biden administration to defend Trump administration officials responsible for the separations.

“We are profoundly disappointed that this administration has walked away from its campaign promise to provide some measure of justice to these families and instead intends to defend the horrific family separation policy in court,” she said. “We look forward to proceeding with our litigation and have confidence in the judicial process.”

The leak of the settlement agreement put families in danger, lawyers say, by making them targets for kidnapping and other crimes.

A source with knowledge of the negotiations said, “It’s actually harmed them more.”

Besides being morally sickening, all this is just idiotic from a pragmatic standpoint. Guess what Joe, you can’t outflanken the goddamned right wing in this country on immigration policy, and you can’t peel off swing voters who aren’t OK with full-on Trump administration-style barbarism but are also opposed to actually doing anything to ameliorate that barbarism, because those voters don’t exist today, if they ever did.

As for thinking that appeasing the right wing scream machine with pathetic gestures like this is going to stop them from simply lying about what you’re doing, I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with current events but that’s not how it works anymore.

A huge problem Democratic politicians in this country have is continuing to care what Republican politicians and Republican voters think about anything. Newsflash: the fascists don’t care what you think about anything, so maybe you should return the favor.

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