National Security

Dozens Of Dem Lawmakers Push To Increase Funding For Immigration Program Led By ‘Abolish ICE’ Group

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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Dozens of Democratic lawmakers are pushing to increase funding for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program led by a group that has advocated to abolish the agency.

Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Jerrold Nadler of New York, and Nanette Diaz Barragán of California and 33 other Democratic members of Congress sent a letter Monday to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young asking for “robust funding” of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Case Management Pilot Program (CMPP), which aids illegal immigrants awaiting their court dates in the U.S. by providing legal resources, mental health support and connections to social services. The Church World Service (CWS), a group that has previously advocated to abolish ICE, is a CMPP board member, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (RELATED: The Biden Admin Is Making It Easier For Illegal Immigrants To Roam The US Without Tracking Them)

CWS’ role as also both the Board’s Secretariat/Fiscal Agent on the CMPP board means the group has been charged with deciding which nongovernmental organizations to provide with federal funding. The faith-based organization received over $114 million from the U.S. government between July 2021 and June 2022, according to its website.

In 2021, CWS tweeted a hashtag with the words “AbolishICE.” The group also previously requested that the Obama administration end ICE “raids” on illegal immigrants.

“Secretary Mayorkas was right when he said we overuse immigration detention,” Jayapal said in a statement regarding the letter, which CWS endorsed, Monday. “Studies consistently show that most people are best equipped to successfully complete their removal proceedings when they have full access to the support of their families and communities and legal representation. Cost-effective, humane options like CMPP are crucial to reduce our reliance on for-profit detention facilities.”

The fiscal year 2023 congressional spending bill gave $20 million to CMPP, and Democratic lawmakers want to keep that level of funding in the next fiscal year’s budget, according to the letter.

Republican Texas Rep. Lance Gooden, however, told the DCNF he believes that the program is only incentivizing illegal immigration.

“These FEMA grant programs are nothing more than a slush fund for NGOs and nonprofit organizations that are actively facilitating the invasion at our southern border. There is zero accountability or oversight of these programs and Congress should not appropriate another cent until FEMA stops financing the perverse incentives that encourage migrants to make the journey to the United States,” Gooden said.

CWS didn’t respond to a request for comment. ICE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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