Newly discovered records found that President Biden’s administration awarded a massive $158 million taxpayer-funded contract to a progressive group specifically to help illegals avoid deportation.
The group, which reportedly views immigration enforcement agencies as a “threat” to civil liberties, is the Vera Institute of Justice. The contract was awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2021.
The Vera Institute is a left-wing nonprofit that backs defunding the police, the contract is to “provide immigration related legal services to unaccompanied minors,” according to USASpending, a federal contract database.
“The Vera Institute of Justice is a behemoth progressive nonprofit based out of New York City with well over a $140 million budget, which they use to fund a slate of progressive causes and initiatives across the country,” Jason Hopkins, an investigative associate with the Immigration Reform Law Institute said. “Whether that be criminal justice reform, bail reform and also immigration.”
Hopkins said the institute gets around half of its funding from the federal government. Between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, nearly $137 million of the group’s $174 million in revenue came solely from government grants, the institute’s most recent tax forms show.
“The $158 million is just the latest in the hundreds of millions that they provided to Vera for their services,” Hopkins said.
The contract, which wasn’t previously reported, began on March 30, 2021, and has a potential end date of March 30, 2022.
Every year, “thousands of immigrant children are placed into court proceedings in which government prosecutors seek to deport them unless those children can prove they have a right to stay in the United States,” a Vera Institute spokesperson said.
“Many children face these immigration proceedings alone,” she continued. “Many children have legal options that establish their ability to remain in the United States (such as refugees, trafficking victims, and survivors of crime and abuse), but these options are nearly impossible to access without the assistance of trained attorneys. Other children require legal assistance to seek to voluntarily repatriate to their countries of origin.”
The spokesperson said the contract was awarded to “provide legal orientation services and, in some cases, legal representation, to children in removal proceedings and detention.” She said that “a vast majority of federal funding” they receive is subcontracted to legal service providers throughout the country who provide the services in HHS facilities and immigration courts.
Hopkins’ group, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, estimated that taxpayers will locally dish out at least $5.6 million in some cities for a deportation legal defense initiative Vera is involved with.
“Vera Institute of Justice has an initiative called Safety and Fairness for Everyone,” Hopkins said. “This began several years ago, and it focuses on providing taxpayer-funded legal representation to aliens – even illegal aliens – that are placed in deportation procedures.”
The immigration reform group said this initiative used public funding in 50 jurisdictions, including 22 that are considered formal partners with the Vera Institute.
“What they’ve done is frankly very smart,” Hopkins said. “It’s sort of a bottom-up approach.”
“Instead of being funded by the federal government and kind of trickling down, this is more of a grassroots approach where they’re going from city to city, county to county and getting these local city governments to create a deportation fund that’s in part funded by taxpayers,” he continued.
Hopkins added that immigration and deportation are civil matters and that the government isn’t required to provide individuals with a taxpayer-funded attorney. He pointed out that the Vera Institute’s website notes that “is committed to ensuring that every person facing deportation receives legal representation regardless of … history with the criminal legal system.”
Hopkins added, “That really opens up the door to—is this an illegal alien who’s been charged, convicted of murder, rape and any other heinous crime? Vera is very open that they really don’t care about their criminal history.”
Author: Arthur Sousa