Senate Republicans seek cuts to DHS pilot program that aids illegal immigrants facing deportation

Republican senators are considering cutting a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pilot program which provides aid to illegal immigrants who are facing deportation while Democrats are proposing dumping another $20 million into the effort.

Congress authorized the Case Management Pilot Program in 2021 as part of the DHS Appropriations Act. It gave $5 million in funding to FEMA to aid illegal immigrants. The FY 23 appropriations bill being pushed by Democrats includes the additional $20 million.

Illegal immigrants are provided “voluntary case management and other services” via the program to help them during immigration removal proceedings. That assistance includes mental health services, school enrollment, legal aid, cultural orientation programs, and social service connections. Also included are human trafficking screening and departure planning for those being deported.

Illegal immigrants enrolled in ICE’s Alternative to Detention program are eligible for the services. That program tracks over 300,000 illegal immigrants by a number of methods that include ankle bracelets, phone check-ins, and smartphone apps.

The funding is controversial, to begin with, but it is even more so when non-profits advocating for illegal immigrants and the abolition and defunding of ICE are thrown in the mix. Those non-profits sit on a national board responsible for awarding the funds, according to Fox News.

In November, Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) wrote to DHS requesting information about the program. Fox News obtained a copy of the response:

Per the Appropriations Act, CMPP service providers will provide case management services including but not limited to: mental health services; human and sex trafficking screening; legal orientation programs; cultural orientation programs; connections to social services; and for individuals who will be removed, reintegration services. Connection to a range of services that participants identify as a priority could include access to counsel, affordable housing, childcare, transportation, healthcare, schooling, language classes, and orientation.

CMPP makes funds available to local governments and/or nonprofits to provide case management and culturally, trauma-informed, and linguistically responsive services to noncitizens in immigration removal proceedings who affirmatively volunteer to participate in the program. CMPP funds will be awarded to eligible sub-recipients through the Board. The Board is charged with awarding funds to eligible local governments and nonprofit organizations and managing the pilot program.”


Three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sit on the board. They include Church World Service which has a history of activism on immigration and is vehemently against ICE, according to Fox News.

DHS told the Republican senators in its recent response that the agency “developed objective criteria and a transparent process for the selection of CMPP National Board members with experience in executing federal grant funding and providing relevant case management services, consistent with expectations set forth in the [Joint Explanatory Statement].”

Republicans are demanding additional oversight for the program and they want its funding cut.

“This is an opportunity for Congress to get something right,” Marshall proclaimed. “Based on the response we received from DHS, the CMPP is not being used as lawmakers intended and this administration has no issue with letting open borders activists abuse the program. Not a single additional cent of public funding should be spent on the CMPP until significant reforms are made to prevent this corruption.”

“DHS confirmed that an organization that has supported abolishing ICE has now been put in charge of a DHS immigration law enforcement program,” Hagerty asserted in a statement. “This is deeply concerning, and the American people deserve answers regarding how an open-borders organization is being allowed by DHS to manage millions of immigration enforcement dollars.”

“We should responsibly appropriate money in a manner that keeps American families and communities safe and that grows opportunity for hardworking Americans – not finances a radical, partisan agenda that encourages further illegal immigration,” he remarked.

RJ Hauman at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) told Fox News in an interview that the response from DHS “confirms what we all assumed: The Biden administration is funneling federal tax dollars through ICE to provide welfare to illegal aliens.”

“Rather than helping the men and women of ICE enforce the law, they are actively undermining them and turning to radical NGOs with no law enforcement background,” he pointed out. “Republican appropriators need to take a hard line on the pilot program’s existence — a single dollar to CMPP or any ‘Abolish ICE’ or mass migration NGO should be a non-starter.”

Thirty-six House Democrats led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-Calif.) are pushing hard for the program to get millions more in funding and want it combined with the reduction of ICE surveillance.

“Case management programs have proven highly effective to ensure that individuals can navigate immigration proceedings and comply with the process while reducing our reliance on immigration detention,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the White House in February. “Moreover, case management is more cost-effective and humane compared to immigration detention.”

They also called for the Office of Management and Budget to “instruct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prioritize establishing the program and that the expansion of CMPP does not result in an expansion of individuals subject to ICE surveillance through detention and electronic surveillance.”


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