Profiting from the Border Crisis: How NGOs Are Cashing In

The number of “unaccompanied children” who somehow managed to reach the U.S. Border is one of the most distressing statistics surrounding the border crisis. Others were led by coyotes, while others walked across the desert with family and friends.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which funds the Unaccompanied Children Program, more than 135,000 children will have crossed the border by 2022. These minors are cared for by the government, as is their resettlement.

Most of the money was given to three nonprofit organizations: Global Refuge, Southwest Key Programs, and Endeavors, Inc. The Free Press reported that “the combined revenues from the three non-profits grew from $597 million in 2019 to an astounding $2 billion by 2022.”

It’s COVID all the way again

Charles Marino said of NGOs, “The amount of money they get is obscene.” He was a former adviser to Janet Napolitano who served as secretary of Homeland Security for Obama. “We will find that the misuse, fraud, and waste of taxpayers’ money will be comparable to what we saw in the Covid federal funds.”

Wastage and fraud? The people who get this money are heroes. These workers are selfless and tireless, helping these children find a better future in America.

This is not exactly accurate.

Some of the services provided by NGOs are quite surprising. Endeavors, for example, uses taxpayer money to provide migrant kids with “pet therapy,” “horticulture therapy,” and music therapy. Endeavors paid Christy Merrell $533,000 as a music therapist in 2021. A PowerPoint presentation obtained by America First Legal (founded by Stephen Miller, a former Trump adviser) showed that Endeavors conducted 1,656 “people-plant interactions” and 287 pet therapies between April 2021 to March 2023.

According to the article, Endeavors spent “$4.6M for “consulting services, $1.4M to attend conferences, and $700K on lobbyists.”

The Administration for Children and Families (a division of HHS) funds nonprofits via its Office of Refugee Resettlement. Its budget has risen from $1.8 billion to $6.3 billion by 2023.

We’ve seen already where nonprofits spend some of the money. I’m certain that horticulture and pet therapy will be very helpful for the children when they settle in the United States. Unsurprisingly, much of this money is going to the CEOs of non-profit organizations. According to an article in the Free Press, “the CEOs of three nonprofits each receive more than $5000 per year as compensation. One of them — the chief executive of Southwest Key — earns more than $1,000,000.”

While it is true that the number of migrants in the last few years has increased, critics claim these huge federal grants are far beyond the current needs. These facilities are usually owned by private companies and leased out to NGOs who house unaccompanied minors, and try to reunite them with their family members, or if this is not possible, those who will care for them, called sponsors. The ORR doesn’t publicly disclose the number of shelters that it funds to help house migrants. The New York Times described this business as “lucrative and secretive.”

The Times should have said that it was a scam.

Global Refuge spent $30 million in 2019 to house 2,591 unaccompanied kids. Three years later the NGO reported it had housed 1,443 children unaccompanied for $82.5 million — almost half the number of migrants and more than twice the amount of money.

HHS has been asked to provide a report by Congress, but they have responded in essence with “We will get back to you.” This administration, with its possible half-trillion dollars in COVID fraud and waste, will set the record as the worst crisis management in U.S. History.

It didn’t need to be this way. This is the worst thing that could happen to taxpayers.