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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.
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.]
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:
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR) (Evangelicals)
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.