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People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018 against then-President Trump's immigration policies. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Justice confirmed Thursday that it has ended negotiations for compensation for migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy.

The big picture: The news comes after the Biden administration faced criticism from Republicans following reports that the DOJ was in talks to pay up to $450,000 per person to settle lawsuits filed on behalf of the families affected.

  • President Biden rebuffed the dollar amount last month, but the administration said at the time that those discussions were ongoing.

What they're saying: "While the parties have been unable to reach a global settlement agreement at this time, we remain committed to engaging with the plaintiffs and to bringing justice to the victims of this abhorrent policy," DOJ spokesperson Dena Iverson said in a statement Thursday.

Lawyers for the families accused the administration of "allowing politics to get in the way."

  • "It would be an understatement to say we are disappointed that the Biden administration allowed politics to get in the way of helping the little children deliberately abused by our government," said American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt, who represents the families.
  • "We are going back to court. The trauma inflicted on these children and parents at the hands of our very own government is unfathomable. We need to do the right thing," Gelernt said in a statement.
  • "Candidate Biden promised to help these children and families," the ACLU tweeted. "But today, President Biden is shamefully playing politics with their lives and futures."

Go deeper: Over 280 migrant children to be reunited with their families

Go deeper

Biden's epic failures

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most.

The big picture: Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing.

Focus group: Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images 

As President Biden approaches the one-year mark of his presidency, some swing voters say his handling of the pandemic has weakened him in their eyes.

  • But they see him projecting strength when he talks about protecting American democracy.

Driving the news: These were key takeaways from the latest Engagious/Schlesinger swing-voter focus groups for Axios, conducted Tuesday, just days after the president's Jan. 6 anniversary speech.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.