RAV: WASHINGTON —
For the 30-year-old Honduran woman, the worst seemed to be over. She’s been reunited with her son who, as a 6-year-old, was separated from her under the Trump administration. She’s working construction in North Carolina. And attorneys were negotiating a payment for families like hers that endured separations.
But reports about those negotiations have created a new worry: extortion attempts stemming from the mistaken belief that she received a huge payout. Her family has already received demands for $5,000 a month.
“Apparently, I am a millionaire now,” said the woman, who, like others interviewed by The Associated Press, spoke on condition of anonymity due to fears for her family’s safety. “I don’t have the money to pay for something like that and I don’t know what to do. I am desperate, really.”
While specific reports are isolated, widespread extortion in Central America explains why many seek asylum in the United States in the first place. Some advocates fear prospects of large payments will fuel many more threats. An attorney for the woman and other families has asked U.S. officials to consider admitting more relatives because of the threats.
It is far from clear whether families will receive any money at all from the U.S. government. Negotiations to settle claims for damages ended amid political outrage over payments erupted following a report in the The Wall Street Journal that the Justice Department was considering $450,000 a person to compensate for suffering — or $900,000 for a parent and child. A person familiar with the talks who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because discussions were private confirmed that figure had been floated. more here