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REPORT: Border Charities Using Taxpayer Money For Big Salaries, Music Therapy, People-Plant Programs

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Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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Border crisis charities are reportedly using large government grants for music therapy, people-plant interactions and high salaries for staff, according to a Monday report published by Free Press.

The NGOs running shelters in Texas, Arizona, and California, funded by the Unaccompanied Children Program, are accused of profiting from these contracts, Free Press reported. The combined revenue of the top three NGOs—Global Refuge, Southwest Key Programs, and Endeavors, Inc.—skyrocketed from $597 million in 2019 to $2 billion by 2022, based on federal disclosure documents.

The Free Press revealed that Endeavors has been reportedly using taxpayer funds for diverse therapeutic activities aimed at migrant children, including pet therapy, horticulture therapy, and music therapy. In 2021, the organization is said to have compensated music therapist Christy Merrell with $533,000. An internal presentation from Endeavors, which was made public by America First Legal, showed that from April 2021 to March 2023, there were 1,656 interactions involving plants and 287 pet therapy sessions.

CEOs of these nonprofits reportedly receive annual salaries exceeding $500,000, with the chief executive of Southwest Key earning over $1 million.

“The amount of taxpayer money they are getting is obscene,” Charles Marino, former adviser to Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Obama, said of the NGOs, the outlet stated. “We’re going to find that the waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money will rival what we saw with the Covid federal money.”

The Administration for Children and Families, a division of the US Department of Health & Human Services, allocates funding to various nonprofits via the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Free Press stated. Amid escalating migrant issues, the ORR’s funding has surged, climbing from $1.8 billion in 2018 to $6.3 billion in 2023. Forecasts predict spending will hit a minimum of $7.3 billion this year, with the majority channelled towards NGOs and contractors. (RELATED: Local Report Alleges Migrants Are Being Secretly Flown Into Tennessee In Middle Of Night. Republican Lawmakers Want Answers)

Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, has voiced criticism of the administration’s handling of public funds, pointing to a deficit in accountability and a disinterest in addressing the issue effectively, the outlet reported. Under legal obligations, the Office of Refugee Resettlement must provide housing for unaccompanied minors lacking legal immigration status until they reach 18 or are placed with a sponsor, often a parent or close family member in the U.S. The agency predominantly handles migrant teenagers who have entered the U.S. alone via the Mexican border.

“What is new under Biden is the amount of taxpayer money being awarded, the lack of accountability for performance, and the lack of interest in solving the problem,” Vaughan said, according to Free Press.

The Daily Caller has reached out to Global Refuge, Southwest Key Programs, and Endeavors, Inc for comments but has yet to receive a response.