Fact checker: Hinson omits details on payment to migrants

First District U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson speaks on September 8, 2021 at a town hall at Kirkwood Community College in southwest Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek / The Gazette)

The end of the year saw several Iowa politicians bragging about their accomplishments in 2021. United States Representative Ashley Hinson tweeted on Dec. 28: “This year, I helped bring the charge against the administration’s proposal to pay some illegal immigrants $ 450,000 after they break our laws.

The tweet of the Republican representative of the 1st district linked to a Opinion piece from November 3 she wrote in the Washington Times. In it, Hinson said she was “disturbed, but frankly not surprised” to learn that the Biden administration “has a plan underway to pay people who attempted to enter our country illegally $ 450,000 – each “. The payments could cost nearly $ 1 billion, Hinson said.

Hinson does not mention in his opinion piece what the payments would be used for, and the article’s only hyperlinks online are to the Times’ collection of other articles on the Biden administration.

To analyse

Hinson’s staff told the fact checker she was referring to ongoing discussions at the end of October, and reported on October 28 by the Wall Street Journal, for the US Department of Justice to propose settlements of up to $ 450,000 for people who sued children separated from their families at the US border with Mexico during President Donald Trump’s administration.

More than 2,700 children were taken from their families at the border in 2018, CNN reported, some of whom were children as young as 8 months kept in shelters for days or weeks without knowing why they were not allowed to see their parents or having any idea when they would be reunited. The “zero tolerance policy” was implemented because children could not be incarcerated with their parents, so they were sent to detention centers in the southern United States.

A Report of the Inspector General of Health and Social Services 2019 Detention center staff said some children were crying inconsolably.

“According to program directors and mental health clinicians, separated children exhibited more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress than children who were not separated,” the report says. In another report, HHS found the Trump administration lacked the technology to keep track of separated families.

The Trump administration reversed policy in June 2018 after a backlash from legislators and citizens.

The ACLU filed a federal complaint in 2019 on behalf of the separated families. It was this class action lawsuit and other lawsuits by migrant families that the Justice Department was trying to settle with the payments, which have reportedly varied in size, with many people getting far less than the maximum, CNN reported.

When the Wall Street Journal article broke, White House officials said the reported $ 450,000 number was “more than the colony could land,” the the Washington Post reported.

Hinson joined more than 180 other House Republicans who co-sponsored legislation which would prohibit settlement payments to immigrants.

Payments talks were scuttled in December after criticism from lawmakers and citizens. On December 16, a federal judge lifted a stay order that was in place while settlement talks were underway, signaling that negotiations are now over, court records show.

“The administrator backed down, but I will continue to hold them accountable for policies that put Americans and Iowans last, Hinson tweeted.


Hinson wasn’t the only congressman to speak out against the proposed regulations. Republican Representative Bryan Steil of Wisconsin tweeted that “Our border is wide open and now (President Joe) Biden is in talks to pay illegal immigrants $ 450,000. It’s incredible.”

Political fact gave this statement a “half-true” October 28.

The Fact Checker leans in this direction. While Hinson is right, the administration was considering important settlements for separated families, his opinion piece and the tweet did not explain why the payments were being considered.

The payments were intended to settle lawsuits brought about the trauma suffered by migrant children when they were separated from their parents. The Justice Department cannot ignore prosecutions, and as with any legal process, the government may be forced to pay more if cases go to trial.

She obtains a C.


The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate or national candidate about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our marketplace.

Complaints must be independently verifiable. We assign marks from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a complaint that you think needs to be verified, email us at [email protected]

The members of the Fact Checker team are Erin Jordan, Michaela Ramm and Marissa Payne. This fact checker was researched and written by Erin Jordan.

Support for the Fact Checker podcast is provided by New Pioneer Food Co-op. Celebrate 50 years as East Iowa’s source for local and responsible groceries with stores in Iowa City, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids; and online via the cooperative basket at https://www.newpi.coop/.

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About Matthew R. Dailey

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