Nonprofits Banking On Illegal Immigration For Federal Funds
Florida nonprofits haven’t been audited since 2008, but that hasn’t stopped the federal government from throwing millions of dollars at the organizations to house illegal immigrants, Watchdog reports.
The Unaccompanied Alien Children Program, run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is tasked with doling out money to nonprofits in an attempt to fulfill its mandate of providing temporary housing to unaccompanied minors with no legal guardians in the United States. Immigration and Naturalization Services in 2002 transferred authority over unaccompanied illegal minors to HHS, mostly to move away from the adult detention model and more to a focus on child welfare.
This year alone, select nonprofits have so far received $21 million dollars of federal grant money, with the overall budget for the HHS program set at $1.4 billion and skyrocketing to $2.28 billion in 2015. Over 3,000 illegals have been housed by nonprofits, and 40,000 more are projected to arrive in the country later this year from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
But there does not appear to be any corresponding increase in accountability with an increase in funds.
The most recent audit, conducted in 2008, noted that officials are not readily checking for compliance at any of the nonprofits.
“Federal field specialist and field coordinator visits to facilities do not include routine meetings with children. Additionally, (the Division of Unaccompanied Children’s Services) does not have a method to track children after they are released to sponsors and therefore is unable to determine whether the processes facilities use to screen sponsors are effective and whether sponsors continue to provide for children’s physical, mental, and financial well-being,” said the HHS Inspector General’s report in 2008.
Most recently, one organization reportedly used $50 million to transition a luxury hotel into a center for unaccompanied minors, costing taxpayers over $166,000 per bed.
“This aversion to basic transparency is extremely disturbing,” Sen. Chuck Grassley from Iowa said in a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
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