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DOJ tells attorneys representing separated families reported settlement figures are too high



“DOJ communicated Wednesday night that the numbers reported in the press are higher than anywhere that settlement can land. The parties continue to negotiate,” Romero said.

DOJ told attorneys by call that the reported settlement figures are too high, according to a source with knowledge of the matter, after President Joe Biden said Wednesday families separated at the border under the Trump administration’s so-called “zero-tolerance policy” will not receive payments of $450,000, but did not get into details about any possible monetary settlements for those families.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said.

CNN has reached out to DOJ.

CNN previously reported that migrant families who were separated at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration could receive significant financial compensation as part of settlement negotiations between the Justice Department and the families’ lawyers, but negotiations are ongoing.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit in 2019 seeking damages for the toll the separations took on families, and attorneys representing families have filed separate claims.

More than 3,000 children were separated from their families at the US-Mexico border under former President Donald Trump. It’s unclear how many people would be eligible for payments.

Outside groups and a government watchdog have found over the years that children separated from their families under the “zero tolerance” policy experienced trauma. A 2019 Health and Human Services inspector general report included accounts of facility staff detailing the inconsolable crying of children when they were separated, the kids’ confusion and belief they had been abandoned by their parents.
The Physicians for Human Rights likened it to “torture,” and the American Academy of Pediatrics told CNN the Trump administration’s practice of separating families at the border was “child abuse.”
More than three years later, attorneys are still trying to reach the parents of 270 migrant children who were separated at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration, according to a federal court filing Wednesday.

The Biden administration has committed to helping reunite families as part of a family reunification task force. Since the creation of the task force, 58 children have been reunified with their parents in the United States, according to the filing.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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