The Biden administration awarded $41 million in taxpayer-backed government contracts to a new liberal nonprofit working to help illegal immigrants fight deportation amid the escalating border crisis, Fox News Digital has discovered.
The Acacia Center for Justice, a Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit born from a partnership between the Vera Institute of Justice and Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR), has received six “legal services” contracts from the Department of Justice that carried start dates of Sept. 1, according to records.
The multimillion-dollar contracts began just months after the under-the-radar nonprofit received a July 29 determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service, which stated the group’s effective date of tax exemption was Dec. 29, 2021.
“The objective of the Acacia Center for Justice (“Acacia”) is to expand on Vera’s work over the past twenty years in providing legal support and representation to immigrants facing deportation through the development, coordination and management of national networks of legal services providers serving immigrants across the country,” the group’s website states.
“Acacia’s goals are two-fold: to support immigrant legal services and defense networks to provide exceptional legal services to immigrants and to advocate for the expansion of these programs and the infrastructure critical to guaranteeing immigrants access to justice, fairness and freedom,” the site says. “Acacia will focus the collective power of both Vera and CAIR on delivering accountable, independent, zealous and person-centered legal services and representation to protect the rights of all immigrants at risk of deportation.”
The Vera Institute, which views immigration enforcement agencies as a “threat” to civil liberties, hauled in a massive $171 million government contract in March to help unaccompanied minors avoid deportation, Fox News Digital previously reported.
That arrangement lasts until March 2023 but can reach as high as $983 million if renewed until March 2027, according to the agreement. It appears to be the largest federal contract Vera has secured for immigration-related services for any single year dating back to the mid-2000s.
Taxpayer-backed government grants and contracts propel the Vera Institute. Between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, $152 million of the group’s $191 million in revenue came from government sources, its most recent financial audit shows.
The New York-based institute works to end “mass incarceration” by cutting down on the number of jails, prisons and detention centers in the United States. The group has also signaled support for defunding police.
CAIR, the second group involved with the Acacia Center for Justice, runs an adult defense program that provides information, support and legal representation to illegal immigrants, according to its website. It also has a detained unaccompanied children’s program that works with minors at Office of Refugee Resettlement juvenile immigration detention centers in Maryland and Virginia.
The Acacia Center for Justice received the contracts as the country faces an escalating border crisis.
The number of migrant encounters at the southern border rose to over 200,000 in August, as the border faced an increase in migrants coming from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, which officials said was driving a “new wave of migration” across the Hemisphere, Fox News Digital reported last week.
There were 203,598 encounters on the border, a slight increase from the 199,976 encountered in July and lower than the 209,840 encountered in August last year.
Of the 203,598, officials said 157, 921 were unique migrant encounters, with the rest attributed to those who had multiple encounters with officials and had been expelled or deported.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, encounters with migrants from Mexico and Central America were down for the third month in a row, accounting for just 36% of unique encounters, while 55,333 unique encounters were from the totalitarian regimes of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, a 175% increase over last year.
“Failing communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are driving a new wave of migration across the Western Hemisphere, including the recent increase in encounters at the southwest U.S. border,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement.
The Biden administration has been fending off significant criticism from Republicans over its handling of the raging crisis at the southern border. There have now been over two million encounters this fiscal year and more than 1.7 million encounters last fiscal year.
The administration has claimed that it is both reconstructing legal asylum pathways that were broken down during the Trump administration while touting a strategy that targets “root causes” of the crisis like poverty, violence and climate change in Central America.
The Acacia Center for Justice did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.