Heritage recently uncovered that Catholic Charities and other non government organizations have been working with the Biden administration to help move migrants across the country. This week, Mike Howell, director of Heritage’s Oversight Project, will explain the investigation and how the mass resettlement of illegal aliens is impacting nearly every congressional district in America.
Michelle Cordero: From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Michelle Cordero, and this is Heritage Explains.
Cordero: In fiscal year 2022, a record 2.7 million illegal aliens crossed the border according to the US Customs and Border Protection. That number is more than a million higher than last year, which was also a record breaking year. And it keeps getting worse.
Clip: Illegal migrants meanwhile surged at the southern border ahead of the end of Title 42. Look at this group. This is the biggest group we've ever seen. Next week, Title 42 will go away. But look at what happened yesterday. Over 1000 migrants crossing into El Paso, Texas on Sunday. After Mexican police escorted and released nearly 20 buses full of migrants to various non-government organizations in a Mexican town near the U.S. border.
Cordero: The Biden administration is to blame for this escalating crisis. But according to a new investigation by Heritage's Oversight Project, they're not the only party responsible. Heritage recently uncovered that Catholic charities and other non-government organizations have been working with the Biden administration to help move migrants across the country.
By examining the movement of 30,000 mobile devices in the United States, Heritage actually charted the path of thousands of illegal aliens making their way to a city near you.
Cordero: Today, Mike Howell, Director of Heritage's Oversight Project, will explain the investigation and how the mass resettlement of illegal aliens is impacting nearly every congressional district in America. Our conversation after this short break.
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Cordero: Mike, thank you so much for joining us.
Mike Howell: Thank you for having me. Good to be here.
Cordero: So the Biden administration has caused and allows to persist the largest border crisis in American history, but they're not the only party responsible for facilitating this crisis. What exactly did The Heritage Oversight Project find out?
Howell: Well, what we discovered through a memo released last week is that a large network of non-profits, non-governmental organizations, NGOs for short, down at the border are acting as a massive way point and resettlement program. Basically what happens is border patrol turns over overflow of illegal aliens to facilities on the border. These NGO facilities then take care of lodge and care and travel to disperse legal aliens throughout the country.
Howell: Now, what was most remarkable about our report is of course we knew this was happening, we've seen it with our own eyes. We heard from border patrol at the time. Is the spread and the magnitude of this operation. I thought after we began this, we would discover that illegal aliens were going to five, 10, 15 states predominantly.
Howell: But no, what we found is they're virtually going to every single congressional district in the US mainland. And the way we proved this was we went out and we bought bulk cell phone data that pinged the location data of the cell phones. And so we geofenced it to these NGOs, tracked the anonymized cell phones throughout the country. And then when the numbers came back and the data came back, shocker, they're going to every congressional district. And this is just a one month period and only 30,000 total devices. And so the spread is complete throughout the entire country.
Howell: It really gives statistical proof to the point that every town now is a border town in the Biden administration.
Cordero: Wow. So NGOs are, just to give an example, this is churches, shelters, organizations like that?
Howell: Right. For the most part. Some of them are affiliated with national religious charities. That being said, calling them religious organizations I think is a stretch.
Howell: What we're seeing, much like the left's march through all of the institutions, whether it's the military, our culture, our schools, et cetera, the same thing has happened in a lot of the charitable arms of churches. Catholic charities is a prime example. They're really the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to this.
Howell: They are deeply involved in facilitating the travel of illegal aliens throughout the country. But it doesn't end there. These NGOs are also, a lot of money behind this, involved in lobbying the Biden administration and our Congress to keep the border wide open. And so it's kind of this full scale operation where not only they're involved in the border, but they're involved in D.C. making sure the border stays open through policy and support to the Biden administration. A lot of their staffers and people connected in those NGO networks are in the Biden administration.
And it's not just in America. This is an international issue. Mass migration is something that's pushed by NGOs across the world. When illegal aliens make the journey to the border, they often stop at NGO facilities along the way, they have presence in Mexico. There are lawyers that help illegal aliens file frivolous asylum claims. They're involved in the push out of certain countries.
Howell: And it's not just in America. I mean, we see this in Europe. It's really an international operation. This is why the Open Society Foundation and George Soros and his billions of dollars are the central node in this. I mean, there's a lot more players. But it really shows that the left's view of massive, massive illegal immigration to destabilize, frankly, the West is really the plan here. That's what they're aiming to do. They don't believe in territorial sovereignty or the nation state. And so through the mass resettlement of illegal aliens, they're trying to undo that.
Cordero: Wow. Interesting. Okay. So how are the NGOs helping exactly, what is it that they're doing once they have the migrants there?
Howell: The biggest thing they do is liaise travel. They basically complete the last leg of the human smuggling chain. The cartels bring them to the border. Illegal aliens turn themselves into Border Patrol because they full well know they're not going to get removed. And then Border Patrol drops them off at the NGOs. And then the NGOs liaises their travel and gets them wherever they need to go in the country. Oftentimes, for a lot of folks, that means to a place that they were trafficked to work or a human smuggling design. Obviously drugs are a big part of this as well when you have the Border Patrol, with all their eyes on this problem, they're taking their eyes off the drugs. And the drugs, especially the fentanyl, is a national epidemic at this point.
Cordero: There are charts in the Oversight Project's memo, I'll link them in the show notes for our listeners, because they really are mind blowing. And as you reminded earlier, this is just a tiny sample, correct?
Howell: Yes. 30,000 devices for a one month period. And so if you compare that to the overall numbers, we've had over five million people cross during the Biden administration alone, I think if you were to extrapolate 30,000 and what we found from this to the five million number, we would be blown away.
Cordero: So what was the purpose of this investigation, why did the Oversight Project want to do this?
Howell: Well, first off, I think a lot of people who donate to these organizations don't full well know what their money's going towards. And so if anyone out there is listening and donates to Catholic charities or any of these other groups mentioned in the report, I think they should rethink that donation and their relationship with those organizations. Sure, they do a lot of good in certain places, but this is a big bad.
It allows illegal immigration to operate. If the Biden administration wasn't capable of turning over illegal aliens at the border to get them into the interior, they'd have a huge mess on their hands. A year or so ago, when thousands of Haitian migrants had to stay in a makeshift facility under a bridge at the border, that's the only time the Biden administration really took heat from the liberal media on this. Without the control of the situation, they wouldn't be allowed to continue this crisis. They'd just have a lot of illegal aliens in Texas and at the border trying to figure out what to do. And that's not the look the Biden administration wants.
Howell: This is a resettlement program. The Biden administration wants open borders for the same reason these internationalist NGOs do. They want to destroy the West. They think that mass immigration and demographic change is a political benefit to them. It puts people on government dependency. It massively changes the population of a country. It waters down community and civic traditions and cohesion. It unsettles the country. This is a Marxist key part of their philosophy is that they need to build class warfare, and there's no better way to do that than rapidly changing the demographics of a country with classes of people dependent on the government.
Howell: And so our point is to let the American people know, and especially Congress, that it's not just the Biden administration.The Biden administration is downstream and they're the ones obviously implementing the policies and responsible for it. But there are massive, huge influences weighing on them that they're downstream from. And that's not just by the way in the immigration context, this is how they operate in the green energy space, this is how they operate in virtually every other policy arena. They're basically the implementing arm of the radical international left.
Cordero: Well said. Well said. And it's worse than that because, again, they're not just resettling illegal aliens in the United States, but they're also enabling cartels.
Howell: A hundred percent. I mean, we've lost operational control of our border to cartels. And we talk about the cartels quite a bit. I don't think people fully understand how barbaric these organizations are. They frankly make American gangs, like the Bloods or Crips, look like a bunch of sissies. These people are ruthless in how they mistreat, abuse, kill, murder, dismember innocent people. And the women and children who are turned over to the cartels' custody during this journey are all too frequently raped and abused. It is a horrific, horrific underground smuggling network that we basically just let happen.
Howell: And the cartels, their control doesn't just stop south of the border, they're in the United States. They are on the receiving end of a lot of these illegals. I mean, this is MS-13, I'm from Northern Virginia, we have a huge MS-13 problem. That didn't used to be the case decades ago. But now with the amount of illegal immigration and mass resettlement, MS-13 is a real problem. And it is not something to be trifled with. These are some bad hombres.
Cordero: Mike, in conclusion, just tell me a little bit more about the Heritage Oversight Project and what else do you guys might have coming up?
Howell: Right. So the Heritage Oversight Project is essentially the investigative arm of The Heritage Foundation, and working with our colleagues on the right, trying to bring together all of the greatest minds and resources to basically fill the void that traditional investigative media used to. There used to be a skepticism of government. There used to actually be legitimate congressional oversight that got information out there. Those things are all gone. And so it's information warfare out there, and it's a one-sided fight because the left controls all the microphones.
Howell: And so what we're doing is realizing that white papers alone aren't going to meet the moment of the agenda that we need to implement. We need to get some facts out there. So we're suing. We've basically built a law firm suing on FOIA request based off strategic information that we've been able to gather. We are engaging in interesting projects like this data collection one we did.
Howell: And we're basically working with people throughout the country to make sure we can build a body of evidence to counter some of the less big narratives. And the short term objective is this needs to help drive and support the congressional oversight agenda specifically of the House now that it's in Conservative hands.
Howell: I mean, American people, when they went to the voting booth, one of the big reasons is they wanted to break up unified control of Washington D.C. And when you break up unified control, you get some oversight, especially in the House. And so we need to make sure that oversight's done well.
Howell: The Biden administration's been a disaster the last two years. And House and Senate Democrats haven't done any meaningful oversight. And so we need to do some meaningful oversight. And that needs to result in actual accountability and policy change.
So that's the mission of the Oversight Project. It's an exciting startup. It's doing non-traditional work. And I think it has a lot of people excited. And I mean, I'm certainly excited about it.
Cordero: Well, Mike Howell, thanks again for your tremendous work on this investigation. It really helped to paint the picture of this epic crisis. And thank you again for coming on to talk about it.
Howell: Hey, thanks for having me.
Cordero: And that wraps up this week's episode. I want to thank each and every one of you for listening to Heritage Explains. And wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday.
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