Unconfirmed reports that President Joe Biden is considering paying $450,000 each to people separated from their families at the southern border over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy have upset the daughter of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Immigrant families were separated from their children after crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. seeking asylum.
The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services are in talks to offer each person who was separated $450,000, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources close to the discussions. The U.S. government separated thousands of children from their parents between 2017 and 2018. Department of Homeland Security officials says the total number taken while Trump was in office exceeds 5,500.
“My heart is extremely heavy right now,” Bernice King said in a video she posted on Twitter. “While I, like so many of you, care deeply for the families separated at our borders and believe that assisting them is the just thing to do. I question how the president of this nation has it in his heart to consider this without expressing and working to fulfill the need for reparations for Black people who have endured generations of physical and relational, psychological and legislative, and yes, economic trauma.”
Bernice King continued, “As my father said, we must recover. We cannot solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power. This radical retribution must include, in my words, comprehensive reparations for Black people.”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest child, Bernice King heads the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change which was founded by her mother, Coretta Scott King, in 1968. An international speaker, Bernice graduated from Spelman College with a bachelor of arts in psychology and from Emory University with a master’s in divinity. She is a minister. She also earned a doctorate in law from Emory and a member of the State Bar of Georgia.
She called for reparations in 2020 while speaking at the funeral of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, who was fatally shot by Atlanta Police at a Wendy’s Restaurant. “We cannot stop our demonstrations until our voices are heard and our demands for police reform are met. We must not stop until white supremacist policy and practices are no longer the order of today.” She added, “We will not stop until voter suppression is a thing of the past. We will not stop until reparations set us on a path to be free at last.”
Many on Black Twitter agreed with King. Some called for Black voters to take a stance.
“Let’s be clear. Reparations is only guarantee to Foundational Black Americans who are descendants from Americans slavery and trace their family lineage to the killing fields of the American south. Now stop telling FBA folks to vote for these damn Democrats without a quid pro quo,” tweeted EmpoweredBlkGal @FBAAllDay81.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among others, has filed lawsuits against the government alleging that the thousands of children and parents impacted by the zero-tolerance policy have mental health issues from the prolonged trauma, Forbes reported.
The dollar amounts remain under discussion, but one person with knowledge of the negotiations said payouts could total $450,000 per person, with some families potentially receiving close to $1 million, The Washington Post reported.
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