Tuesday 23 April 2024

Catholic Charities of San Antonio Accused of Misappropriating Federal Funds to Buy Airfare for Migrants

 Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio is defending itself after becoming the target of critics who claim that it improperly used federal funds to buy airfare for illegal aliens to fly to their choice of destinations in the U.S.

Two South Texas lawmakers blasted the charity on Thursday for using federal funds to purchase the airfare and said that the funds are intended to reimburse nonprofits for food, shelter, and humanitarian expenses, not free travel programs for President Joe Biden’s illegal aliens.

Reps. Henry Cuellar (D) and Monica De La Cruz (R) warned the charity that it improperly used the money, KETK-TV reported.

Cuellar, the ranking member of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Shelter and Services Program funds that the charity used for the airfare violated the rules. He insisted that the money was only to be “used for food and shelter, maybe transportation inside a city,” not for long-distance travel.

De La Cruz agreed and added that the group’s spending constituted a misappropriation of federal funds:

These tax dollars were not intended to be used to fly illegal immigrants all over their country to the destination of their choice. They misused funds and sent these illegal immigrants where their preferred destination was with taxpayers’ hard-earned money. This is just simply unacceptable.

Catholic Charities of San Antonio admitted to the station that it had been allotted $10.8 million in funding to care for migrants in their area and that it used the funds to buy plane tickets for illegals.

However, Jose Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities of San Antonio, insists that the airfare purchases were perfectly in line with the limits of the funding rules.

Fernandez told the Catholic News Agency that the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) FEMA grant given to his organization “clearly stated that you could provide transportation.”

“The funds were given to us to provide food, clothing — all these activities — including transportation,” Fernandez added.

“It’s not my interpretation. It is a fact; many companies in the U.S. provide transportation because it is allowed,” he insisted. “If you contact FEMA, they will tell you that, yes, you are actually allowed to provide transportation.”

Still, Fernandez noted that his organization has not paid for any flights for illegals since December 2023 because he is now getting funding from a different program that limits travel funding to five percent of the budget — a smaller amount of the total spending than before.

He also says that the new situation is causing problems in San Antonio because illegals can not afford to move on from the city, and that is causing the population of illegals to grow.

“Now we’re seeing a lot more people staying in San Antonio because they don’t have the funds to go someplace else,” he exclaimed:

We feed them, we clothe them, we provide them with counseling services, with financial assistance to the people staying in San Antonio — legal services, shelter services. We try to provide them with all these wraparound services to help mind, body, and spirit.

Outspoken San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond recently noted that Biden has thrown another $38 million at the county to help pay for migrant services, but he maintains that the money would be better spent to stop the migrants from illegally crossing the border in the first place.

“The County of San Diego just received $38 million from the Biden Administration to process migrants when dropped on our streets,” he said in a post to X.

“Border patrol is their Uber into San Diego County, and San Diego County will be the migrant’s travel agents,” Desmond added. “With federal tax dollars, the county’s mission will be to put as many migrants on planes, trains, and automobiles as quickly as possible to other parts of the country.”

No comments:

Post a Comment