By Frank Fang
The Biden administration awarded $41.3 million in federal contracts to an advocacy group aligned with the progressive left’s Vera Institute of Justice, which helps illegal immigrants fight deportation from the United States.
The Acacia Center for Justice—a Washington-based nonprofit created through a collaboration between the Vera Institute of Justice and the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition—was awarded a total of six contracts from the Department of Justice to provide “legal services” starting from Sept. 1, according to government records.
On its website, the Acacia Center for Justice says its mission 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.”
Additionally, Acacia says its goals are “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.”
Acacia recently obtained its federal tax-exempt status. On July 29, the Internal Revenue Service sent a 501(c)(3) determination letter to the group, declaring that its effective date of tax exemption was Dec. 29, 2021.
Fox News first reported on the nonprofit’s federal contracts.
In June, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Biden administration has the authority to end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, Vera issued a statement applauding the court’s decision.
“The Supreme Court’s decision marks a key step in restoring asylum, a crucial component to a more just and equitable immigration system in the United States,” Vera stated.
At the time, many Republican lawmakers voiced their opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling, including Rep. Clay Higgins, the ranking member on the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border security.
“Ending Remain in Mexico will further weaken our already deteriorated border security,” Higgins said, according to a statement. “Congress should codify the security mechanisms of Remain in Mexico and Title 42. Law enforcement needs those tools to reestablish operational control and stop the massive disintegration of our sovereignty at the border.”
The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition runs a detained adult program and a detained unaccompanied minors program, according to its website. The adult program “helps detained immigrants learn to understand the Immigration Court and deportation process” and connect migrants with pro bono attorneys.
On Jan. 20, 2021, the CAIR released a statement saying it was relieved to see the Trump administration go.
“There is true relief knowing that the Trump-Pence administration is over,” the CAIR wrote. “Now, we are ready to seize this moment and advocate for true, substantive changes.”
In August, Venezuelan migrants overtook Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest source of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border illegally. According to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. officials stopped 60,530 Mexicans in August, followed by Venezuelans with 25,349 encounters.