OPINION

Senatorial Update with Deb Fischer

Nebraska City News-Press

Stopping Payments to Illegal Migrants

Did you know the federal government operates a little-known bank account that isn’t subject to annual oversight from Congress, yet pays out billions of dollars in settlements a year?

It sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. The Judgment Fund is an obscure government account the U.S. Treasury Department uses to pay certain court judgments and settlements against the federal government. Aside from common-sense reporting requirements I pushed for a few years ago, it is up to the executive branch to decide whether they want to disclose who the Judgment Fund is paying and why. Even worse, these payments do not go through the annual appropriations process, as the Constitution requires for other federal funding, and there’s no limit on how much money the Judgment Fund can pay out. In government, that’s never a good thing.

Most Americans have never heard of the Judgment Fund, but it has still paid for some very controversial things. In 2016, when President Obama sent the government of Iran $1.3 billion in coordination with the release of American hostages, he used money from the Judgment Fund.

The Judgment Fund has been misused again and again throughout its 65-year history. Now, the Biden administration has reluctantly confirmed that the Department of Justice has been secretly planning to use the Fund to pay illegal immigrants as much as $450,000 per person to settle lawsuits against the U.S. government. That is more than four times what the families of our fallen American troops receive when they lose a loved one.

Think about it this way: President Biden wants to give your hard-earned money to migrants who entered our country illegally. He even wants to give that money to migrants who have been turned back while attempting to illegally cross the border.

That should not be allowed to happen. Taxpayer money should never go toward encouraging illegal immigration or promoting a policy of open borders, so I introduced a bill that would bar the Biden administration from making these kinds of payments.

The Judgment Fund Accountability Act would make it illegal to use the Judgment Fund to pay anyone who entered or attempted to enter the United States unlawfully. My bill would make sure your tax dollars are spent responsibly, not used to settle litigation with people who broke the law to come to the United States.

While my past efforts to make the Fund more transparent have given the American public a window into one of the most secretive bank accounts in Washington, Congress still has no way to block the most controversial payments from going through.

That is why my new bill is necessary. President Biden’s irresponsible open-borders rhetoric has already led to a humanitarian disaster at our southern border. Offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to migrants who came to the U.S. illegally is only going to make this crisis worse. We can’t allow that to happen.

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Deb Fischer