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White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday that President Joe Biden was "perfectly comfortable"
with giving payouts to illegal aliens who were separated at the border from their families under the prior administration.
Jean-Pierre's remarks come after Biden himself said yesterday, "That's not going to happen,"
when asked about the administration potentially giving $450,000 payouts to illegal aliens.
"So, if it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous history of the previous administration's use of zero tolerance and family separation behind us, the president is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the U.S. government,"
Jean-Pierre said. "You know, DOJ can obviously speak more to that process. The president was - what he was reacting to was the dollar figure that was mentioned - that you mentioned to him yesterday."
Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked Jean-Pierre what changed from Biden's remarks yesterday to the White House saying today that he was "perfectly comfortable" with the move. She did not answer the question.
"The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services are considering payments that could amount to close to $1 million a family, though the final numbers could shift,"
The Wall Street Journal reported last week. "Most of the families that crossed the border illegally from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. included one parent and one child ... many families would likely get smaller payouts, depending on their circumstances."
The Washington Post and The New York Times both later confirmed the report from The Wall Street Journal.
The payouts would be in response to lawsuits filed against the U.S. government.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS REPORTER: President Biden is calling these reports about the administration paying up to $450,000 to illegal immigrants who are separated from family members "garbage." He says it's not going to happen. But the ACLU says that it is. So, who is right?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Are you talking about the question you asked him yesterday?
JEAN-PIERRE: So, if it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous history of the previous administration's use of zero tolerance and family separation behind us, the president is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the U.S. government.
You know, DOJ can obviously speak more to that process. The president was - what he was reacting to was the dollar figure that was mentioned - that you mentioned to him yesterday.
As press accounts today indicate - there's been press accounts on this - DOJ made clear to the plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land.
Again, this is a - this is something that the Department of Justice can speak to. I do not have anything more to add to this.
DOOCY: But if it's not - if he's not okay with $450,000, how much money is he okay giving these illegal immigrants?
JEAN-PIERRE: This is some- - again, Peter, this is something that the Department of Justice is going to handle. I just laid out what he was thinking and how this is - the process was moving forward. The DOJ will talk to the specifics of this.
DOOCY: And so what changed, then, from yesterday? You're saying that he would be "perfectly comfortable" settling with these families who broke the law to come here, but yesterday, he said, "That's not going to happen."
JEAN-PIERRE: First of all, let's remember how we got here, how we got to a place where we're dealing with families being separated. This is coming from the last administration's cruel, inhuman, immoral - immoral policies against - against just people. It's separating children from their families - 18-month-olds, 2-year-olds, 5-year-olds from their families.
That's how we got here is because of the last administration. This is what we're trying to deal with here in this administration. So, let's be very clear of how we got here and what's happening.
Anything else that you would like to know about this, again, I'll - I'll send you to the Department of Justice. I can't speak to specifics - any more specifics on this.
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