Foxx introduces bill that would require more oversight to NGOs

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, R-NC-05, has introduced legislation that would require all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that apply for a federal grant to certify, as part of their application, that they have not, will not, and are not engaging in acts related to the smuggling and transportation of illegal aliens into the United States, and that they are not engaging in a conspiracy to take any of these actions. 

H.R. 8334, the Grant Integrity and Border Security Act,  ensures accountability for taxpayer dollars that go to non-profit and advocacy groups with little or no oversight. If NGOs violate section 274(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1324(a)), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) may withhold funds from any grantee in violation of this requirement. After an investigation into an alleged violation is completed, the Attorney General will submit to OMB any information relating to the conviction of an individual.

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee discussed the bill during a markup session Wednesday.

Committee Chairman James Comer, R-KY, said it was brought to the committee’s attention that some NGOs are using taxpayer dollars to subvert immigration law.

“NGOs receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal financial assistance to reimburse travel, shelter, and food provided to illegal aliens after they’re released from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody,” he said. “While these grant funds are lawfully provided for such purposes, some grant recipients may be engaging in inappropriate and potentially criminal conduct. The DHS Inspector General found last year that the NGOs had received reimbursement through FEMA’s emergency food and shelter program for services provided to illegal aliens who had evaded detection and apprehension by DHS personnel.”

Comer said this means that DHS had no record that these individuals had been released from custody and were ineligible to receive services under the law.

Further, he said if a grant recipient is later found to have criminally aided illegal immigrants, they can be held accountable through a civil suit. Such civil suits can be filed under the False Claims Act, which provides that any person who knowingly submits or causes to submit false claims to the government is liable for three times the government damages. 

Ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, who opposes the bill, said at the behest of former President Donald Trump, Republicans rejected a bipartisan Senate border bill in February that he said Mitch McConnell called “the most substantial border security policy in 30 years.”

“HR 8334 is just one more frivolous attempt by Republicans to further demonize immigrants and stoke fears about migrants without actually doing anything,” he said. “This bill is not necessary, and it is a painfully obvious attempt to score political points in the ceaseless crusade to demonize immigrants and try to claim that the Biden administration is not already upholding the nation’s existing immigration laws. HR 8334 is further evidence that when it comes to immigration and border security our colleagues are offering no solutions but rather gimmicks.” 

Foxx would later chide Raskin.

“I’d like to say to the ranking member he knows I do not do frivolous things,” she said “I do not spend my time doing frivolous things, and he said that we are implying that the Biden Administration’s not upholding the law. No, Mr. Chairman, we know the Biden Administration’s not upholding the law.” 

Rankin would later apologize to Foxx, saying he wasn’t calling her frivolous, but it is frivolous that Republicans rejected the border bill in February, calling it, “the best bipartisan package we ever had, at least since I’ve been in Congress on immigration.”

Foxx stated that agents of Customs and Border Patrol have been outspoken in their opposition to both the Biden Administration’s policies and the assistance illegal immigrations received from NGOs.

“When asked if NGOs are working at cross purposes to the mission of border control agents, the chief of the National Border Control Council said, “Most definitely, and they should not be allowed but our government allows it,” she recounted. “NGOs receiving taxpayer funding through grants pay for everything from food, shelter, and transportation to legal services that help the migrants traverse Mexico. According to the Office of Management and Budget, each year taxpayers provide more than $1.2 trillion in funding for thousands of programs through grants and other forms of financial assistance.” 

For context, Foxx said that $1.2 trillion was 4.8% of our country’s GDP in 2022.

In 2023, the DHS Office of Inspector General published a report on the failure of the administration to provide adequate oversight of federal grant funding.

“The report states that 58% of the reviewed amount was missing documentation,” she said. “Additionally, the report determined a shocking number of migrants who received assistance from these NGOs were missing documentation and did not have a DHS encounter record.”

Foxx said that of the 824 names tested as a sample, 197 were ineligible to receive humanitarian services, and 154 did not have an encounter record.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-AZ, said he supports Foxx’s bill, adding the Democrats’ bill guaranteed 1500 people could illegally enter the US every day or over 500,000 people in a year and didn’t trigger an option to secure the border until it hit the number of 5000 illegal aliens coming across the border in a day or about 1.8 million. It also didn’t become mandatory to actually close the border for security purposes in that legislation until 7500 a day came in, or about 2.5 million.

He also said that Republicans fully support legal immigration, with over 500,000 coming to the US each year. 

Biggs also talked about an NGO in Yuma that is being overwhelmed by illegal aliens. Before the Biden Administration took over, Yuma averaged fewer than 25 a day, but now that figure has jumped to as much as 2,000 daily.  

He also gave another example of the growth of apprehensions of illegal aliens in the Tuscon area. In 2020, apprehensions would average 60,000 a year. This year, Biggs said they are on pace to exceed 700,000 encounters in the Tuscon sector, which he said is the corridor for 50% of all fentanyl, drug trafficking, and human trafficking. 

“This is a bill that’s actually necessary because one thing that we have found is that NGOs are actually facilitating illegal immigration both south of the border and on our side of the border,” he said.

It was reported earlier this year that North Carolina had nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants residing in the state.

The bill now goes on to the House for a vote.

The post Foxx introduces bill that would require more oversight to NGOs first appeared on Carolina Journal.


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