At least 19 lawsuits and hundreds of administrative complaints have been filed against the federal government by migrants who say their children were separated from them by the Trump administration. The plaintiffs are seeking financial compensation after enduring what was widely regarded as one of President Trump’s harshest policies, reports the Washington Post. Now, much of the anger surrounding the issue has been redirected toward President Biden, threatening to escalate into a bigger furor. Negotiations between the administration and the families’ attorneys over a monetary settlement broke down in December, and the lawsuits are starting to resume in court. That pits Biden administration lawyers against immigrants who had their children seized, a politically perilous scenario for a president whose support from Latinos and liberals is already shaky.
Lawyers in one case refiled motions Tuesday to compel the government to turn over “tens of thousands” of internal documents, including 10,000 pages of Justice Department “emails, records, and handwritten notes” about Trump’s separation policy. On the left, immigration activists accuse Biden of failing to live up to his promise to repair the damage inflicted by Trump. On the right, cite a report that the administration was in talks to pay people up to $450,000 each, saying that amounts to coddling people who sought to cross the border illegally. After moving quickly to curb some of his predecessor's most controversial approaches, Biden has adopted a more restrictive posture toward migrants in recent months. “His instinct is a very defensive one,” said Julián Castro, who served as secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama administration and ran for president against Biden. “It tends toward an enforcement-based approach and an approach that sees immigration as a third rail of politics. Generally, the administration is scared of that issue.”