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Negotiations in family separation lawsuits fall through

Posted at 6:13 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 09:13:28-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The U.S. government will no longer be paying families that were separated at the border in 2018, as negotiations for a settlement fell through on Thursday.

Attorneys for the ACLU, who are a part of the lawsuit, called the move "shameful."

This news comes weeks after reports that a proposed settlement was going to include hundreds of thousands of dollars to each family.

The Biden administration came under fire for the dollar amount, and the president then said it was not going to happen.

In 2018, roughly 5,500 children were separated from their parents at the border. Hundreds are still not reunited.

"Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that the talks have broken down. This administration has not been clear really at all about the direction they want to go in,” says Richard Villasana, the founder of the local nonprofit Forever Home for Foster Kids.

For 25 years, Villasana has helped reunite more than 10,000 families around the world, most recently, including families separated by the Trump administration.

“We've done so successfully which is why we know the intricacies and difficulties of doing this throughout Central America,” says Villasana.

President Trump implemented the "zero tolerance" policy in an effort to stop migrants from entering the country illegally. The policy eventually ended, but lawsuits were filed by the families.

Villasana says these settlements shouldn't be politicized but that the government needs to find out how to reunite the children that still aren't back with their parents.

“I’m not saying that's the best solution, but it certainly is a solution given all the inconsistencies, the lack of faith, the lack of clarity that has come out of the federal government now for years,” says Villasana.

In a statement, the department of justice said settlements were still despite its withdrawal from the negotiations.