Director of immigrant-rights group accused of embezzlement

Texas

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Fernando Garcia, the executive director for the Border Network for Human Rights is facing accusations of financial mismanagement.

The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) works with immigrants in the El Paso community in an effort to “defend and promote human and civil rights,” and it has been active in work protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. The organization joined with the County of El Paso as a plaintiff in a case against Trump’s Emergency Declaration, freeing up funds to continue building Trump’s promised ‘border wall.’

The allegations against Garcia were revealed in a letter from former BNHR Board President Carlos Spector to one of the non-profit’s largest grant donors. Spector is accusing Garcia of embezzlement and misusing the organization’s funds while working on behalf of BNHR.

In a copy of the complaint letter given to KTSM, Spector says Garcia received more than $10,000 in cash from BNHR on different occasions for meetings and trips to Mexico City on behalf of the organization and its work.

The letter alleges Garcia never presented receipts to justify expenses paid with BNHR credit card.

Garcia, through his attorney, presented a statement to media Friday evening. The statement reads in part, “BNHR in partnership with its funders will be conducting an independent audit of financial and governance issues raised.”

BNHR adds the allegations will not distract from the work it is doing.

The organization is facing several other challenges in addition to the accusations outlined in the letter. The majority of the non-profit’s staff left their positions at the end of 2019.

The group is still set to protest the development of an El Paso migrant children facility Saturday morning.

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