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July 25, 2013

Taking From Caesar: Gang of 8 Bill Contains Large “Slush Funds” for Faith-Based Immigration Contractors

(Photo credit: bilerico.com)

Section 2537 of Senate Bill 744 (S. 744), also known as the Gang of Eight’s immigration “reform” bill, includes two large slush funds, totaling at least $150 million over the next five years. These funds are earmarked for organizations that promise to help illegal immigrants apply for amnesty.

As reported by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS):

Slush fund grantees are “public or private, non-profit organizations” described in the bill as including “a community, faith-based, or other immigrant-serving organization whose staff has demonstrated qualifications, experience, and expertise in providing quality services to immigrants, refugees, persons granted asylum, or persons applying for such statuses.” In other words, the grantees would include many of the groups involved in writing and promoting the amnesty.

Furthermore,

Section 2106 of the Schumer-Rubio bill creates the “Grant Program to Assist Eligible Applicants” and the funds also go to public and private non-profit organizations (p. 131). The grants are to be used for promoting the amnesty through public information campaigns and helping illegal immigrants with the application process. Similar to the section above, the funds can be used for providing “any other assistance” that the grantee “consider[s] useful” in helping illegal immigrants apply for legal status. The source of funds for these grants is not carefully spelled out in the bill; it appears that there is some intention that visa fees be used to carry out this section, but the bill notes that the DHS Secretary may “use up to $50 million from the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund” to fund the grants (p. 133). The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund includes $6.5 billion “transferred from the general fund of the Treasury”, taxpayer dollars that are supposed to be spent on border security provisions in the bill (p. 25). [Emphasis added.]

So who will be the recipients of this money? As M. Stanton Evans pointed out in Investor’s Business Daily, much of it will go to secular groups like La Raza and others.

However, it is very likely that much of the funding will go to the nine largest refugee contractors, which include several faith-based organizations that receive millions of dollars every year from the federal government. These contractors are paid by you – the US taxpayer – to resettle refugees, and are commonly known as “Volags” (Volunteer Agencies). The nine organizations are:

According to the Refugee Resettlement Watch Fact Sheet, some of the sources of income for these Volags include:

a.  $1,850 per refugee (including children) from the State Department.

b.  Up to $2,200 for each refugee by participating in a U.S. DHHS program known as Matching Grant. To get the $2,200, the Volag need only show it spent $200 and gave away $800 worth of donated clothes, furniture or cars.

c. The Volag pockets 25% of every transportation loan it collects from refugees it “sponsors”.

d. All Volag expenses and overhead in the Washington, DC HQ are paid by the U.S. government.

e. For their refugee programs, Volags collect money from all federal grant programs – “Marriage Initiative”, “Faith-based”, “Ownership Society”, etc., as well as from various state and local grants.

Let’s just look at one of these organizations: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

According to their 2011 financial report, the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services Office’s revenue for the year was $72,102,484. Of that, $66,723,452 (92.5%) came directly from federal grants and contracts. Another 3,751,295.46 (5%) came come “Travel Loans Fees”, that is, money collected from the refugees being “sponsored”. The chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, has been spearheading the USCCB’s recent amnesty campaign: The bishops openly support the passage of S. 744.

Essentially, the USCCB profits from increased levels of immigration. They subsidize illegality on the taxpayer dime – and it’s no wonder that they’re so opposed to border security measures. As long as the border is open, these refugee contractors can profit from inevitable future amnesties, as well as chain-migration.

Much like the disconnect between evangelical elites and their flock, most Catholic parishioners support law enforcement and border control. Nevertheless, Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently declared that support for border enforcement was “not Christian” and “not American.” Not too long ago, he also characterized proponents of an Arizona border enforcement bill as “mean-spirited,” and compared border defenders to Nativists, Know-Nothings, and the Ku Klux Klan.

The chart below comes from the 2010 edition of Catholic Charities At A Glance (the most recent available). 62% of Catholic Charities USA’s income comes from the federal government, a total of $2,895,092,130. (That’s billion, not million.) 30% of their services that year went to “Immigration Services”.

Catholic Charities is so protective of their main source of income that they fired Mark Krikorian, an unpaid volunteer, because of his public positions against amnesty. Mr. Krikorian is the Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, and as a volunteer for Catholic Charities he taught civics classes for green-card holders seeking to pass the citizenship test.

As for the evangelical group World Relief, it may come as no surprise that Stephan Bauman,  President and CEO of World Relief, is one of the “Heads” of the Evangelical Immigration Table. Last year, World Relief had an income stream of $51,828,435, and $34,109,484 (65%) came from the taxpayer. Again, that’s you.

With such massive sums of money on the line and up for grabs, it’s no surprise that the USCCB and other faith-based organizations are spending so much time and money campaigning for the Gang of Eight Bill. In fact, over the past year, the USCCB has spent almost $4 million in grants on a project “aimed at mobilizing regular Catholics to push for the bishops’ immigration platform”. Ironically, the money for these “grants” may well have come from the taxpayers themselves. That’s right – the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, using taxpayer dollars to promote increased levels of illegal activity, for financial gain. This kind of scheme might be regarded as white-collar crime if it were engaged in by private citizens.

These revelations greatly damage the credibility of Catholic bishops engaged in lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over the HHS contraception mandate, especially since Catholic Charities USA received $5,546,607 in 2012 for 21 contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At the very least, this financial dependence upon the government potentially compromises the bishops’ freedom of action when it comes to issues of, among other things, religious liberty.


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  • Sara Anderson

    I scratch Caesar’s back; he’ll scratch mine. Charming!

  • Frank Black

    This article is poorly sourced and irresponsibly written. The Center for Immigration Studies is the most disreputable source on this matter out there, having demonstrated themselves to the right of Attila the Hun. Granting monies to nonprofits to perform the essential functions of assimilating immigrants is completely consistent with limited America government; it achieves the function without growing the government and in cooperation with what de Tocqueville thought was the genius of America, civil society intermediate bodies that stand up to the plate. Nobody is getting rich of these contracts, in fact, organizations like the US Conference (not ¨Council¨) invest a great deal of overhead and infrastructure in making these grants possible so there´s no profit to speak of. They do it out a sense of mission and civic commitment and responsibility. In the article linking to Dolan´s supposed opposition to border security you won´t find a single mention of opposition to border security. To say the bishops oppose border security is ridiculous.The Senate bill that the USCCB supports right now grows the border security complex, another government black hole of waste and spending, exponentially. The bishops are following the dictates of their faith, the Catechism and the teaching of the popes on the right of people to migrate, not a political agenda like the little experienced author of this article. How has the freedom of action or credibility of the bishops on religious liberty been compromised? The USCCB has been harping on the HHS stuff and pouring loads of money into it from the beginning and still hasn´t stopped. What more are they supposed to do?

    • Marjorie Jeffrey

      The Center for Immigration Studies is cited because they brought this portion of the bill to the attention of the public – it would have been dishonest of me to take credit for finding it in the bill myself.

      Furthermore, the bishops have expressed displeasure with increased border security measures in the bill. You can read the official statement here: http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/usccb-continues-back-immigration-bill

      Quote from the statement:
      “The legislation before the U.S. Senate will include the Corker-Hoeven amendment, which dramatically increases border enforcement and requires that unprecedented enforcement resource goals are met prior to undocumented immigrants receiving permanent resident status. It also eliminates Social Security credits earned by undocumented immigrants and requires the payment of assessed back taxes.

      The U.S. bishops have serious concerns with the Corker-Hoeven amendment, most significantly its focus on enforcement along our southern border. While Catholic teaching supports the right of a sovereign to control its border, we are troubled that this dramatic expansion of enforcement resources could adversely impact border communities, not to mention make migrants more vulnerable to smugglers and death in remote parts of the border.”

      • Frank Black

        Again, they’ve indicated many times that they are not against border security or sovereignty. They are indicating they don’t support this particular amendment, not least of which because it will cause additional deaths, doesn’t take into account the adverse impact of a growing national security state on citizens living on the border, and constitutes an exorbitant cost to the tax payer. Nevertheless, they state, “In our view, the overall benefits of this legislation outweigh the adverse impacts of our current system.” If theirs was merely a profit motive as the author suggests, they would have withdrawn their support altogether. The accusation that the USCCB is attempting to profit off of illegal immigration is completely unproven and indeed libelous and mean spirited.

  • Lauren Cooley

    Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said “hell is full of good wishes and desires,” and was later stated as “the road to hell is paved with the best intentions.” This is exactly what happens to many Volags and to our government officials as well. Some are well meaning in helping immigration reform, but ultimately their suggestions lack substance and will lead us straight to the pits of hell (metaphorically speaking, of course.) *Hell=ruin of the America as we know it.

  • Robert Jeffrey

    I am quite sure that Alexis de Tocqueville would not have suppported the Catholic Church accepting money from a centralized administrative state, especially one bent on reducing its effectiveness in teaching its core doctrines and even redefining its doctrines. If the Catholic Bishops admit that that a political community has the rightful authority to determine its citizenry then they should leave the policy debate to those primarily interested, the citizens of the country as citizens of the earthly city. And by the way, the explanation offered above about the Bishop’s opposition to Corker-Hoeven is completely specious. What effective means do the Bishops believe the state retains to protect its borders?

  • Robert Jeffrey

    One more thing. Are you telling us, Mr. Black, that the oligarch-exploiters, and leftwingers who want to make it impossible for Christians and conservatives ever again to win a national election–in other words, the primary supporters of this bill–are not buying Church support for the bill with this money?

  • Dan Trabue

    Nice new look, by the way.

    You touch on many topics and strands here. Let me just address one, a note about Catholic Charities.

    What I know about Catholic Charities is limited to my involvement with them in helping settle religious and political refugees in the US. These are people whose lives are threatened/at risk in their homeland and/or who have already escaped their homeland and are living in desperate conditions in refugee camps.

    This is a good and necessary work and I find it rather shocking that some would object to such work being done at a non-profit level. Yes, our gov’t DOES fund some non-profit work, but this seems preferable to me than having the gov’t do it itself. Isn’t that something that conservative types complain about regularly?

    Would it be nice for Catholic Charities and other groups to be funded ENTIRELY by private groups? Absolutely. I FULLY support individuals and churches stepping up and FULLY funding all the needs that are served by groups like CC. But, until such time as the private sector steps up to take care of these things, I have no problem with we, the people funding such efforts, as long as it’s not used to proselytize.

    For the record, I’m not Catholic, nor do I work for CC. I just respect the work they do with immigrants and refugees. God bless them.

    Also, thanks to Mr Black for the information/warning about CIS.

    ~Dan Trabue

  • Caleb
  • cynthia curran

    Mark Krikorian should volunteer for Focus North America an eastern Orthodox charity since he is Armenian orthodox, granted there are some liberal orthodox but few illegals come from Russia or Greece.

  • PJ Wilcox

    If these tax free church’s want to play and dictate policy, make money and demand reform, pay your share of tax and then you can bitch and moan like the rest of us. So take off your pious robes and join us in the trenches. You have a lot of nerve to tell the government how to spend money on birth control but on the other hand you see the open border policy as Christian, well quit dumping your Christian asylum and refugee flock on the doorstep of the American taxpayer. You don’t share your corporate profits with your flock do you?

  • BayouCoyote

    That billboard is a lie. They knew He was coming to deliver the Word of the Lord.

    Liars. Judas. The whole lot of them.