GOP senators want ‘robust oversight’ of controversial DHS program aiding illegal migrants facing deportation

GOP lawmakers are eyeing additional oversight and funding cuts to a controversial program that aids illegal immigrants as they are placed in detention alternatives.

Republican senators are eyeing cuts to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pilot program which aids illegal immigrants facing potential deportation — just as Democrats in the House are calling for an additional $20 million in funding for the program.

The Case Management Pilot Program was authorized by Congress in the 2021 DHS Appropriations Act, which provided $5 million in funding to FEMA for the program. It was funding for an additional $20 million in the FY 23 appropriations bill. 

The program provides “voluntary case management and other services” to illegal immigrants in immigration removal proceedings, including mental health services, school enrollment, legal aid, “cultural orientation programs” and connections to social services — as well as human trafficking screening and departure planning for those being deported.

The services are intended for migrants enrolled in ICE’s Alternative to Detention program — which involves more than 300,000 illegal immigrants being tracked by a variety of methods including ankle bracelets, phone check-in and smart-phone apps.


It has proven controversial not only due to the spending on services for illegal immigrants but also the presence of non-profits who have typically advocated for migrants — including one that has called for the abolition and defunding of ICE — on a national board responsible for awarding funds.

Sens. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, and Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., wrote to DHS in November requesting information about the program and recently obtained a response from DHS, which was obtained by Fox News Digital.

DHS, in its response notes that the program was set out by Congress in the FY 2021 Appropriations Act, which provided an initial $5 million for the program. DHS outlines the plethora of services made available to migrants.

“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,” its response says. “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.”

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“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,” it says. “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.”


The board charged with awarding funds includes three non-governmental organizations, including Church World Service — which will serve as secretariat and fiscal agent. Fox News Digital has previously reported that CWS has a history of activism in immigration, including calling for abolishing ICE. CWS told Fox at that time that it has “long advocated for humane alternatives to detention and against the cruel and inhumane treatment of migrants seeking safety.”

“CMPP is an important step toward the federal government providing the trauma-informed, wholistic case management services that all families seeking safety deserve,” the group said.

In its response to the senators, DHS said 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].

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However, the information from DHS has done little to blunt concerns from Republicans about the program — with multiple lawmakers calling for additional oversight and looking at ways to reform how the funding is used.


“This is an opportunity for Congress to get something right,” Marshall said. “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 said 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.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., told Fox that “taxpayer money “should not pay for illegal immigrants’ benefits, and our Department of Homeland Security should not be in the business of facilitating services that financially incentivize more people to illegally enter our country, especially amid the unprecedented national security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border.”

“As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee for the Senate Committee on Appropriations, I look forward to conducting robust oversight of this Administration’s conduct when it comes to their disastrous, reckless agenda related to immigration and border security,” she said.


“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,” she added.

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Meanwhile, RJ Hauman at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – which calls for lower levels of immigration overall – told Fox News Digital that the DHS response “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 said. “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 nonstarter.”

But that opposition comes as 36 House Democrats are pushing for the program to get even more money, and for it to be combined with a winding down of related 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 earlier this month. “Moreover, case management is more cost-effective and humane compared to immigration detention.”

They argue that programs such as CMPP are “crucial to reduce our reliance on immigration detention while ensuring that individuals who lack community ties and would benefit from additional assistance have assistance to comply with immigration proceedings.”

They 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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