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Christian Nonprofits Incentivize Illegal Immigration With Your Tax Dollars

illegal border crossers convene under McAllen, TX bridge
Image CreditUSCBP/Flickr

Popular evangelical groups use American tax dollars they receive from grants to make migrants’ travel to the U.S. easier.

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President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse Rev. Franklin Graham told Newsmax in May 2023 that despite his organization’s prominent presence in Latin American countries, “We’re not aiding illegal immigration.”

“We are feeding people down there. We’re not helping people cross the border,” Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, insisted.

While programs offering food and financial resources to the caravans snaking through Central America seem humane on the surface, they actually incentivize more migrants to pay the cartel smuggling fees so they can make the trip north. Well-intentioned Christian charities are using American taxpayer money to assist migrants on their journey through Central America, undoubtedly fueling the surge of human trafficking across borders from South America into Mexico and the U.S.

Catholic groups’ work subsidizing migrant treks to the U.S. is widely known and has even been scrutinized by members of Congress. But popular evangelical groups like Samaritan’s Purse and World Relief also use American tax dollars they receive from grants to make migrants’ travel to the deadliest land migration route easier.

Samaritan’s Purse’s mission to “Go and do likewise,” as Jesus commanded in the parable of the Good Samaritan, led to the creation of dozens of international aid programs including Operation Christmas Child and World Medical Mission. For its work, Samaritan’s Purse has received millions of American dollars from government grants, including from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Approximately $718,513 of the money Samaritan’s Purse garnered from government grants and donations has gone to the UN’s Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V).

Samaritan’s Purse may not be physically escorting hundreds of thousands of migrants across the U.S. border, but its partnership with R4V guarantees it is financially involved with a program that openly incentivizes migrants’ journeys to the U.S., no matter how illegal it may be.

On its face, R4V appears to offer basic aid to people leaving politically unstable and impoverished Latin American countries. A deeper dive into the group’s 2024 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan, however, reveals a complicated scheme to load the many migrants pouring into the U.S. with taxpayer-funded “pre-paid, rechargeable debit cards but also hard ‘cash in envelopes,’ bank transfers, and mobile transfers the U.S. border-bound travelers can use for whatever they want,” as Center for Immigration Studies’ Senior National Security Fellow Todd Bensman reported in January. Encouraged and energized by the cash aid, these migrants continue to the U.S. where already overwhelmed border agents will likely release them into the U.S. with little accountability.

Bensman also noted that migrants from Venezuela with intent to cross the American border illegally aren’t the only ones who receive cash payouts. The UN and its close to 250 non-governmental partners, many of them religious organizations, award $372 million cash aid to hundreds of thousands of “multiple other nationalities” whose migration patterns “increasingly overlapped with and occurred simultaneously in time and place” as those from Venezuela.

“The only expression of apparent concern about supporting people clearly intending to break US law shows up on a page depicting a map with the thin red line of a migration route leading to the US border at about El Paso,” Bensman wrote. “Someone took the trouble to add a footnote on that page noting that the map ‘does not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the UN.’ Despite no ‘official endorsement,’ the UN is spending big to encourage such a journey.”

The Federalist asked Samaritan’s Purse if it was aware its financial partnership with R4V benefits more than just Venezuelans and supports other migrants’ goal of crossing the U.S. border illegally. The organization’s Director of Marketing and Media Kaitlyn Josten claimed Samaritan’s Purse “does not support illegal migration” and that its Multipurpose Cash Assistance program is “strictly directed towards Venezuelan migrants who are legally entering Colombia or Colombian returnees who have made the decision to establish themselves permanently in Colombia.”

“No funds are used for cross migration purposes,” she wrote. “Samaritan’s Purse is deeply concerned about human trafficking and sexual violence, and we are very aware of the humanitarian crisis.”

Follow the Money

The North Carolina-based nonprofit isn’t the only Christian evangelical organization that is aiding and abetting the chaos, crime, and death stemming from the southern border by invigorating illegal migration. Dozens of faith-based profits across Jewish, Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, and other sects have involved themselves in programs that inflame the record-breaking number of migrants flooding the U.S.

World Relief, a non-governmental organization with the mission “to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable,” is one of several voluntary agencies (VOLAGs) that receive American tax dollars to resettle refugees.

“VOLAGs are strictly prohibited by regulation from any form of proselytization to refugees. In reality, they are simply government contractors paid handsomely for their services,” a Capital Research Center article noted in 2018.

Yet World Relief has raked in millions of U.S. tax dollars to date and is slated to receive more over the next two years while fundraising off of sharing “the example of Jesus” to the globe.

When Title 42 expired last year, World Relief issued a statement emphasizing that “Thoughtful policy solutions are needed that respect our laws, ensuring both secure borders and due process for those who profess a credible fear of persecution.”

World Relief VP of Advocacy and Policy Matthew Soerens recently claimed that World Relief wants “bipartisan solutions to improve border security, to provide more resources to the Border Patrol and others to ensure … their security” but rejected classifying the ongoing border crisis as an invasion with, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, “catastrophic consequences.”

“I just want us to be really careful, those of us who are followers of Jesus, not to fall for that rhetoric,” Soerens said in a dispatch from El Paso last week. “It is not a dangerous situation” because “it’s not a military conquest,” he said.

“It’s not people coming in trying to harm the United States,” he added.

Clean Hands

Soerens is wrong. Our nation’s border crisis is dangerous and deadly. More than 150 illegal border crossers were found on the terror watch list. Thousands of U.S. families have suffered because convicted criminals have kept committing crimes once they sneaked over our border.

The border crisis is also being exploited by our No. 1 overseas enemy and foreign criminal organizations alike to harm Americans and our country. Cartels may control the routes used for smuggling fatal fentanyl into the U.S., but their operations are sustained by investors linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

Drugs aren’t the only problem. Cartels use migrants’ desperate desire to come to the U.S. to turn a profit. Migrants don’t cross into the U.S. from Mexico for free. They either pay a coyote, a professional smuggler, to escort them, or they pay with their lives.

Evangelical Christian organizations say they are loving their neighbors and being the “hands and feet of Jesus” by partnering with secular groups and programs aimed at dealing with migrants. Their finances and the results of the programs, however, tell a different story about complicity in a border crisis that, every day, wreaks more and more havoc on the people they claim to care about and love.

But even if the border crisis weren’t a humanitarian one, aiding and abetting illegal migration would still be wrong. That’s because illegal immigration also wreaks havoc on our nation and harms American interests by hurting our national cohesion and undermining our way of life, which is reason No. 1 why American groups should refuse to enable it.


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