TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ripped President Biden over reports that the administration is considering paying $450,000 to illegal immigrants who were separated from their families at the border under the Trump administration, calling the move a "slap in the face to every hard-working American."
The Sunshine State governor said he was "very, very concerned" regarding reports of the potential payments as Americans struggle with rising energy and grocery costs.
"You’ve had all kinds of really bad policies throughout our country that has limited freedom," DeSantis said Friday. "And you're going to turn around for that and you’re going to do $475,000 for an individual that came illegally to this country?"
"I’ve seen a lot in my day — I’ve seen a lot that’s happened over the last nine or ten months that I didn’t think I’d ever see — but this takes the cake," the governor continued. "If that is done, that is going to be a slap in the face to every American who works hard and plays by the rules."
"And it will especially a slap in the face to people that have immigrated legally to this country," he added. "That should not be allowed to stand. It’s wrong, and whatever we can do in Florida to fight back against it, we will do."
The payments to migrants, if carried out, would likely exceed the payments given to some families of 9/11 victims and Gold Star families.
Critics quickly noted that it would be more than payments received by the families of those who lost loved ones in military service. The death gratuity is a single, tax-free payment of $100,000. In addition, there is a life insurance program, the Servicemember Group Life Insurance (SGLI), but that maxes out at $400,000 and requires service members to have paid into it.
Meanwhile, advocates for 9/11 victims and their families said in a statement that the news was a "shock" to them given they are trying to persuade Congress and the administration to fund payments for those who they say were wrongfully kept from compensation.
Republicans have hammered the Biden administration since reports of the potential payments first surfaced.
Forty-five House Republicans, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, GOP Caucus Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York and Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, signed onto a letter led by North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy demanding answers on the reported payments.
"Promising tens of thousands of dollars to those who unlawfully entered the United States would not only reward criminal behavior, but it would surely send a message to the world that our borders are open and our rule of law will not be enforced," the letter warned.
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
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