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evangelical_immigration_table_21 (1)

by Barton Gingerich (@bjgingerich)

In a Christian Post article today, a spokesperson for the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT) fired off a defensive volley against a recent slew of critical reports from Breitbart News. Breitbart has reported that EIT is part of the National Immigration Forum (NIF), which receives generous grants from George Soros and other leftist foundations.  “No funding from George Soros has been used by the Evangelical Immigration Table,” reported the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s Sammy Rodriguez.

The Christian Post article reports that funds specifically for the EIT came from Republican hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, and “other leading Christian business owners,” according to Rodriguez.

Also today the National Immigration Forum released a carefully-worded statement: “Recently, some have accused the Table of receiving financial support from George Soros through the Forum. We wish to be absolutely clear on this point: These rumors are untrue. None of the funding the Forum receives from the Open Society Foundation goes to the work of the Evangelical Immigration Table. In fact, over the course of 2012 and 2013, approximately 10 percent of the Forum’s overall revenue has been from the Open Society Foundation.”

Breitbart has reported that EIT does not exist as a legal entity. Its work is “facilitated” by the National Immigration Forum.  It is essentially part of the NIF.  Its $250,000 ad campaign for immigration legislative advocacy was reportedly contracted by NIF.

NIF’s statement denies that Soros specifically designated funding for EIT, which Breitbart did not claim.  But EIT is an initiative of NIF, which most certainly DOES receive funding from Soros and similar philanthropies.

And who are NIF’s backers? Publicly available information shows that Soros’  Foundation to Promote an Open Society gave more than half of NIF’s total funding in 2010, $1.75 million. The NIF has received $3,807,152 from Soros since 2009 and a total of $5,107,152 over the decade from 2001 to 2011.

NIF’s statement today says Open Society provided about 10% of the NIF’s budget in 2012 and 2013 but does not indicate what the amount was or what is NIF’s overall budget, which possibly has increased.  The liberal Ford Foundation donated $250,000 to NIF in 2011, $500,000 in 2010, and $300,000 in 2009. Other donors of the left gave generous support: the Carnegie Corporation donated $500,000 in 2011 and the Tides Foundation $60,000 in 2010.

Many evangelicals are suspicious of this political alliance with George Soros and similar philanthropies.  Yesterday, noted evangelical commentator Eric Metaxas withdrew his name from the Evangelical Immigration Table, citing the Soros connection.