"Waste Of The Week" on The National Desk: $158M Used to Provide Legal Aid to Migrant Children 24_TND_WOTW_2.4

February 4, 2022 10:34 AM



by ELISSA SALAMY, The National Desk

WASHINGTON (TND) — According to watchdog group Open the Books, the U.S. government entered a contract with a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

“It's $158 million to one single nonprofit organization in New York City called the Vera Institute for Justice,” said Open The Books’ Adam Andrzejewski to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “This grant for $158 million subsidizes legal counsel for illegal entrants – these unaccompanied minors – and we don't need more unaccompanied minors coming across the border. It raises all kinds of human trafficking and child trafficking issues. So there's huge public policy implications with this contract.”

Andrzejewski claims the Vera Institute for Justice is “overtly partisan.”

“They advocated not only for defunding the police but for dismantling the police and taking those funds into the community service programs,” said Andrzejewski. “They've also advocated for releasing all illegal entrants held in ICE detention facilities into the mainstream population of the country.”

The Vera Institute of Justice, originally founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, now aims to “end the overcriminalization and mass incarceration of people of color, immigrants, and people experiencing poverty,” according to their website.

According to Andrzejewski, the Vera Institute of Justice utilizes “workarounds” to help migrants.

“Any illegal entrant does not have a right to a public defender because this is a civil case and they're not citizens,” said Andrzejewski. “The Vera Institute for Justice, they want to create a public defender system that they run funded by taxpayers for every single illegal entrant in the country. Again, if you subsidize illegal immigration, you're going to get more of it.”

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