Biden Admin Offers Migrant Families Temporary Legal Status, Housing Benefits Under New Settlement

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Lillian Tweten Contributor
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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reached a settlement Monday with a group of immigrants who claimed they were unjustly separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, allowing them to legally stay and work in the United States while receiving government benefits.

ICE reached the settlement as a response to a 2018 class action lawsuit filed against a policy implemented by former President Donald Trump in an attempt to stop the agency from separating immigrant children from their parents while processing their applications. The settlement, if approved by a federal judge, will prohibit ICE from deporting members of the class action lawsuit for a minimum of three years, gives immigrants government-sponsored housing and medical insurance, gives them legal assistance to become U.S. citizens and fast-tracks their asylum and citizenship applications. (RELATED: Border Patrol Loosens Grooming, Tattoo Standards Amid Recruiting Crisis)

“The separation of families at our southern border was a betrayal of our nation’s values,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta wrote in a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. “By providing services to these families and implementing policies to prevent future separations, today’s agreement addresses the impacts of those separations and helps ensure that nothing like this happens again.”

The settlement allows “qualifying additional family members” of the class action participants to immigrate to the U.S. and receive the same benefits as the lawsuit members. It also prohibits ICE from separating children from their parents or legal guardians at the border for the next six years, even if they crossed the border illegally or if ICE suspects the pair may not be related, which could potentially hamstring an incoming Republican administration in 2024 seeking to reinstate Trump-era border policies.

The settlement mentions that individuals who are convicted felons or have warrants out for their arrest will not be eligible for the program. It also clarifies that minors can be justly separated from their immigrant parents if the children are in danger or if they need immediate medical attention.

At least 1.6 million illegal immigrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2023, and more immigrants have chosen to cross illegally because they claim the Biden administration’s app that supposedly provides an expedited application process doesn’t work. Thousands of immigrants illegally cross the border each day in some locations, a surge that some border patrol agents blame on the government’s lack of deterrence for illegal immigration.

At least 290 immigrant children and their families qualify for the benefits provided by the settlement, according to the DOJ press release.

The DOJ and ICE did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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