Key Senate Republicans blasted the Federal Emergency Management Agency for shoddy record-keeping regarding the transportation of illegal immigrants throughout the U.S. 

FEMA distributes grants to nonprofit organizations for shelter and travel expenses for illegal immigrants, but last month informed The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project that it has no documentation about how that taxpayer money has been spent. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)

“It is becoming clearer every day that the Democrats’ open-border catastrophe is not only being orchestrated by the Biden administration, the American taxpayer is unwittingly being forced to pay for this invasion,” Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told The Daily Signal. The committee oversees border and immigration issues.

The FEMA admission that it lacks documentation for expenses comes less than a year after an internal federal audit stated FEMA is responsible for “a detailed accounting of all program funds.” 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said this is part of President Joe Biden’s larger intention of “an open border with as little oversight as possible.”

“Despite FEMA’s lack of a mechanism to track where these funds are sending illegal aliens, Biden still insists that Congress appropriate over $1.4 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to transport illegal aliens all over the country,” Cruz told The Daily Signal in a statement. 

The Texas senator called the Biden administration policies on the border “reckless and morally reprehensible.” 

“We heard reports a 22-year-old college student, Laken Riley, was murdered by an illegal alien,” Cruz said. “We have also heard of a two-year-old boy being shot outside of D.C., an adolescent being raped in Massachusetts, and a teenager being sexually assaulted in Louisiana—all by illegal aliens. The human cost continues to rise as a result of this full-fledged invasion. We must secure our border now.”

A FEMA spokesperson forwarded a Daily Signal request for comment to the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal for this story as of publication time. 

In mid-February, the agency did inform The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project that it had no responsive records regarding the expenses. 

“Based on the original request you provided, we do not have reason to believe that FEMA would have records responsive to this request,” a FEMA official said in response to a public records request from the Oversight Project on Feb. 12. “Accordingly, we are administratively closing the request without prejudice.”

The request specifically asked for fiscal year 2023 information about “records regarding the Transportation Eligible Reimbursement” for the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and FEMA’s Office of Chief Procurement Officer.

The Oversight Project posted on X, formerly Twitter, of FEMA: “They have admitted that they have zero documentation of where illegals travel to on taxpayer-funded resettlement trips.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General issued a report in March 2023 stating that FEMA doled out $81.6 million to 25 nonprofit organizations in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. 

These nonprofits “did not always provide the required receipts or documentation for claimed reimbursements,” the inspector general’s report said. Some of the nonprofits “were unable to provide supporting documentation for families and individuals to whom they provided services.” 

“These issues occurred because FEMA did not provide sufficient oversight of the funds and instead relied on local boards and fiscal agents to enforce the funding and application guidance,” the report said. “As a result, FEMA, as the  [Emergency Food and Shelter] National Board Chair, cannot ensure the humanitarian relief funds were used as intended by the funding and application guidance.”

FEMA is the chairing organization of the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board, which also includes the United Way Worldwide, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Jewish Federations of North America, and National Council of Churches of Christ in USA. 

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