US

Group Given Nearly $300 Million To House Child Immigrants; Improperly Disclosed Lobbying

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Chuck Ross
Reporter

A Texas-based organization that has been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts by the Obama administration to house illegal immigrant children not only lobbied the federal government, but also failed to properly disclose the activity.

After The Daily Caller inquired about its lobbying disclosures, BCFS, a San Antonio-based nonprofit, now says it may correct its tax forms to properly disclose its lobbying expenditures.

The Obama administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services, has tapped BCFS, formerly known as Baptist Child & Family Services, to provide security and other services to unaccompanied children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, and Ft. Sill army base near Lawton, Okla.

BCFS has become the largest provider of such services for the child immigrants, who are part of a massive influx of mostly Central Americans that has put the Obama administration on its heels. (RELATED: Obama Evades Murrieta Protests Over Border Breakdown)

The administration expects 90,000 unaccompanied children to be apprehended at the U.S. border by the end of the fiscal year, more than triple last year’s total. (RELATED: Obama Offers Mini-Amnesty To 200,000 Kids By 2016)

HHS has given BCFS $280 million in federal contracts for its services so far this year. Nearly all of that — $270 million — has been given for services for unaccompanied children. HHS has given BCFS $458 million in total, according to the Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System.

According to the Senate lobbying database, BCFS is the only organization that provides residential services directly for unaccompanied children that has spent money on lobbying.

Since 2006, BCFS has spent $210,000, according to a database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

In 2008, Congress passed an anti-trafficking law that requires the Department of Homeland Security to turn unaccompanied children from countries that do not border the U.S. over to the care of HHS. HHS then houses the children until they can be placed with relatives or sponsors while awaiting deportation proceedings.

In 2011, BCFS paid Madison Policy Group $20,000 to “advocate the continued appropriation levels for child welfare programs under HHS — Administration for Children & Families, including the Unaccompanied Alien Children account.”

BCFS paid Washington D.C. lobbying powerhouse Williams & Jensen $190,000 in total in 2006, 2007 and 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The lobbying was split between Congress and various agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS and HHS.

“BCFS has contracted with outside government relations firms; like many non-profits do,” BCFS spokeswoman Krista Piferrer told TheDC.

But a deeper analysis conducted by TheDC found inconsistencies in BCFS’s lobby expenditure reporting on its tax forms.