A Washington group is criticizing the Senate immigration bill because it allows for up to $150 million for organizations to advertise citizenship opportunities and to help illegal immigrants sign up to become citizens.
The nonpartisan Center for Immigration Services calls the money “slush funds” and earlier this week cited several concerns — particularly that the money can go to the same groups that helped craft the legislation and that the spending appears to have no cap or oversight.
“It’s virtually a blank check,” Jon Feere, a Center for Immigration Services legal policy analyst, told FoxNews.com. “And the groups that helped draft this bill can now give themselves taxpayer dollars.”
The money is divided into two parts. The first is $100 million in grants to public and private nonprofit groups for programs that help people apply for provisional immigrant status, which includes assistance with completing applications and gathering proof of identification.
The other part in $50 million for additional assistance that includes legal help and public-awareness campaigns that tell illegal immigrants about the “eligibility and benefits of registered immigration status.”
The 844-page bill calls for the grant programs to run through 2018 and be administered by the secretary of Homeland Security through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.