Todd Bensman, Center for Immigration Studies, January 9, 2023
The director of this country’s largest immigrant shelter worked himself into a peak of outrage recalling the largesse of a United Nations program that, unknown to most Americans, has been showering millions of dollars in cash to help foreign nationals on their way to cross the U.S. southern border.
Casa INDI shelter director Jose Jaime Salina Flores was recounting the recent case of an immigrant mother staying with three daughters at his facility who demanded that Flores help arrange a UN raise above the 6,000 pesos a month the UN already gave her on a debit card (about US$300) and which she thought insufficient while she planned the journey over America’s border.
But Flores recounted in a recent interview with the Center for Immigration Studies what he told her and why her sense of entitlement so irked him.
“I said, ‘Tough! Millions of Mexicans wish to earn that amount of money per month right now — working — and she’s having it for free when she’s not paying anything for shelter, food, and medical attention,” the Casa INDI shelter director, otherwise a passionate advocate for migrants, recalled, his voice rising in anger. “She pays absolutely nothing and on the side she gets 6,000 pesos and still she’s complaining it’s not enough?! Lots of Mexicans would like to have that!”
In his irritation, Flores would find unlikely common cause with some of the few Americans who know about this UN cash giveaway program, which is widespread and provides tens of millions of dollars to hundreds of thousands of immigrants on their way to illegally cross the American southern border.
In late 2021 and early 2022, the UN program drew outrage among advocates of regular immigration law enforcement, including congressional Republicans of border states, after they learned, in part from Center for Immigration Studies video, photos, and analysis, that UN debit cards and vouchers for transportation, shelter, and medical and legal advice to gain asylum “protection” all along Latin America’s migration trails were easing travel in the most voluminous ongoing mass migration in American history. One group of 12 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives, led by Texas Rep. Lance Gooden (R), last year proposed legislation calling for the United States to defund the United Nations for ironically, to them, using American tax money to inflict what they see as a catastrophe on Americans who pay those taxes.
But as White House border policies drive the crisis into a third escalating year, the same UN-led constellation of non-profit migrant advocacy groups have posted plans to keep this hemispheric-wide, migration-sustaining cash giveaway program going in 2023 and in 2024, according to a revealing planning document recently published online that has drawn scant, if any, media attention.
The “Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan” for 2023-2024, coordinated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), both of which receive substantial annual U.S. taxpayer contributions, calls for a quarter of the $1.72 billion it wants for 2023 — some $450 million — to go directly as cash or cash equivalents to “migrants and refugees” on the move throughout Latin America.
All the planning and money handouts happen under the UN-coordinated “Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants”, a network of some 228 non-profit entities and religious institutions established in 2018 that hands the money out or delivers other comforting, perhaps even enticing, services (p. 268 of the downloadable report lists the current participating organizations and their “financial requirements”).
“Cash Working Groups” made up of more than 50 of the non-profit migrant advocate organizations will distribute the $450 million as “Cash and Voucher Assistance” (CVA) or “Multipurpose Cash Assistance” (MCA) to those paused outside their home countries and contemplating journeys or actually moving already along the migrant trails in 17 countries from South America through Central America and Mexico, the planning document reveals.
The $450 million for 2023 is less than 2022’s $518 million. But its latest regional plan for Latin America still sees a heavy role for cash support this year and in 2024 because historic numbers of Latin Americans are migrating north, along with many other nationalities.
Host governments “continue to offer protection, humanitarian assistance and socio-economic integration opportunities to millions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela”, the document says. However, it also points out that something new is pulling them from their relative comfort in host countries toward the United States “notwithstanding this generosity”, the document notes, making no mention of DHS allowing hundreds of thousands into the country. “An increasingly sizable proportion, including those of other nationalities, have increasingly resorted to onward movements.”
The issue of United Nations-led migration support activities in Latin America is almost sure to erupt in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives this year.
Asked to comment about the new planning document, which he had not yet seen, for instance, Gooden said he was outraged to hear of their continuation at such high levels. Gooden was strongly considering again proposing his bill to defund the UN, with new revisions.
“This is a slap in the face to American taxpayers who foot the bill for this corrupt globalist institution,” he told CIS over the weekend. “Republicans must condition UN funding and stop this taxpayer funded invasion immediately.”
Of the $450 million, $149.5 million would be given out in cash or debit card form to 631,000 “in-transit” immigrants moving mostly northward, about half of the 1.2 million the group estimates will be on the march this year.
Those who get a piece of that $149 million will spend it with debit-like cards with few restrictions. Monthly auto-deposited amounts are often pinned to a region’s cost of living index, so tend to be higher in northern Mexico than in southern precincts or Central America.