Rep. Gooden introduces bill to defund nonprofits that facilitate illegal immigration

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Rep. Gooden introduces bill to defund nonprofits that facilitate illegal immigration

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Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, on Wednesday introduced legislation to remove federal funding from U.S. nonprofit organizations that help facilitate illegal entry into the United States.

The Stop Federal Funding for Human Trafficking and Smuggling Act would direct the head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to require federal contracts and grants to be contingent on organizations certifying that they are not involved in either human trafficking or human smuggling, fraud or bribery at the U.S. border. 

REP. GOODEN, IN BORDER VISIT, SLAMS SECRECY BEHIND ‘ORGANIZED’ OPERATION TO MOVE MIGRANTS INTO US

If that certification is not done, then the funding must be repaid to the government. It would apply to any nonprofit awarded federal funding or that has a contract or award with the federal government. The legislation is co-sponsored by House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., House Budget Committee ranking member Jason Smith, R-Mo., and 19 other House Republicans.

The bill comes as part of Gooden’s own investigations into what he sees as a secretive and “very organized” operation to bring illegal migrants into the U.S. and facilitate their transport across the country as part of what he described as an “invasion.”

“The Biden administration is working with nonprofits, U.S. corporations, and international agencies to operate an illegal immigration network that spans from South America to every community in the United States,” Gooden said in a statement. “Taxpayer dollars should not be subsiding a mass invasion of our country and it is time to put a stop to this corrupt operation.”  

The bill has the support of groups including Citizens for Renewing America and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

“As President Trump’s budget director, I saw first-hand how taxpayer money goes to fund activities that are immoral and deeply offensive to the American people,” Russ Vought, president of Citizens for Renewing America and former White House OMB director, said in a statement. 

“Many NGOs openly encourage the flaunting of our border and immigration laws, providing ‘how-to’ guidance on how to come to the United States illegally, and then reward such activity by facilitating and funding housing, food, utilities, and legal support. The net effect of these activities either directly promotes or provides cover for human trafficking operations, and the exploitation of men, women, and children at the border under the guise of ‘helping’ migrants,” he said. “I support Rep. Gooden’s efforts to make sure groups that facilitate these activities are no longer funded with the hard-earned tax dollars supplied by the forgotten men and women of America.”

Last year, Gooden obtained a packet given to migrants that included flight information, copies of the Notice to Appear from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a list of pro bono legal service providers, maps of major cities in the U.S. and information and legal assistance in Spanish.

It also included a letter from the nonprofit to be handed to TSA officials, urging them to be allowed onto a flight with the limited ID they have that the letter says should be adequate for them to be searched in the Secure Flight program.

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“It seems very organized and premeditated and I would like to know who is behind the funding for this organization. Is the state of California mismanaging federal funds? Are private entities funding this? Are foreign organizations funding these private entities?” Gooden said to Fox News at the time.

Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, visits the southern border in San Diego. (Rep. Lance Gooden's office)

Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, visits the southern border in San Diego. (Rep. Lance Gooden’s office)

Gooden has also pushed the State Department on information about a program to issue travel loans to refugees, warning that it gives nongovernmental organizations a “vested financial interest” in pushing the U.S. to bring in more refugees. His inquiries also revealed that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is allowing illegal immigrants to use civil immigration arrest warrants to board planes.

The legislation comes as the crisis at the southern border – which saw approximately 1.7 million migrant encounters in FY 2021 and more than 178,000 migrants in December alone – seems set to continue in 2022.

Republicans have been blaming the Biden administration for the crisis, particularly its ending of Trump-era border protections and reduced interior enforcement priorities. The Biden administration has put the increase in numbers down to a combination of the Trump administration’s ending of legal asylum pathways and also “root causes” like violence and poverty in Central America. 

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In leaked audio of a meeting between Border Patrol agents and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the DHS chief admitted that the job for them was getting harder.

“The job has not gotten any easier over the last few months, and it was very, very difficult throughout 2021,” Mayorkas told the agents, according to Townhall. “I know apprehending families and kids is not what you signed up to do. And now we got a composition that is changing even more with Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and the like, it just gets more difficult,” 

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