More Taxpayer Funding for NGOs that Assist Illegal Aliens Amid Border Crisis
This week, the Department of Homeland Security announced another tranche of funding through the Shelter and Services Program (SSP) for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), states and local governments that will assist illegal aliens at the border. The funding, which comes through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is geared specifically toward non-federal entities that provide food, clothing, shelter, and other services to migrants who have recently entered and are awaiting immigration proceedings. Congress specifically stated that the funding could not be used for border security. For fiscal year 2023, DHS will provide $363.8 million of taxpayer dollars through this program, although it’s unclear how the money is actually spent by the NGOs and local governments.
In this week’s tranche of funding, DHS has allocated $77 million to 53 entities, with El Paso County and Catholic Charities of San Diego receiving the most at around $13 million each. The recent funding builds on the first tranche released in June when DHS doled out over $291 million dollars through SSP. In June, the New York Office of Management and Budget received over $104 million, or 36% of the funding. In total, DHS has used SSP and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program-Humanitarian Awards (EFSP-H) to grant more than $770 million of taxpayer funding to NGOs this fiscal year. DHS stated that, “supporting communities is a critical component of DHS’s efforts to manage encounters at the Southwest Border in a safe, orderly, and humane manner.”
While the Department lists the 53 entities that received funding this week, it does not provide specific details on how they will spend the dollars or how many individuals will benefit. The funding may be used for shelter (including housekeeping), food (including cookware and containers), transportation (including to communities away from the border), acute medical care (such as health screenings and over-the-counter medicines), administrative expenses (such as IT and language services), and renovations or repairs to existing facilities. DHS noted revisions to SSP that would “expand the cap for both hotels/motels and airfare to 10 percent of the total funding requested by the applicant. In addition, DHS will also allow for recipients to apply for a waiver for those caps based on operational need.”
As noted previously by FAIR, the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a scathing report earlier this year following an audit of funds appropriated to FEMA to provide “humanitarian relief to families and individuals encountered by [DHS].” The OIG found that the funds were mismanaged on multiple occasions and grantees violated the terms of the program.
The top ten largest recipients of the SSP’s second tranche of over $77 million include the following:
The top ten largest recipients of the SSP’s first tranche of over $291 million include the following:
In addition to the funding already allocated, on August 10, the Biden Administration sent a request to Speaker McCarthy for an additional $600 million in emergency spending for SSP.
SSP funding for next year (fiscal year 2024) is under consideration by Congress. The House appropriations bill, which passed the committee on June 27, rejects the President’s request to continue SSP. However, the Senate FY24 Homeland Security Appropriations bill would provide $752 million for SSP to provide shelter and other services to aliens released from DHS custody.