Another Taxpayer Funded Special Program for Refugees


Related reading: Seven Refugees With Active TB Sent to Idaho

Feds Spend $1 Million for Refugees to Become Farmers

Two new projects provide land leases to refugees

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending nearly $1 million to teach refugees how to farm.

FreeBeacon: New grants announced last week include two projects in Idaho and Kansas to “cultivate the next generation of farmers” by helping refugees get land leases to start their own farms.

The first project was awarded to Global Gardens, a Boise, Idaho-based organization that teaches refugees about farming and community gardening. The group will train refugees and Native Americans about organic vegetable farming.

“Global Gardens trains beginning farmers who have cultural, linguistic, or economic barriers to success which might prevent them from otherwise becoming successful farmers or accessing more mainstream farmer training programs,” the project grant states. “Our long-term goal is to create sustainable, profitable, independent small farm businesses.”

Project goals include assisting refugees in securing land leases on incubator farms, teaching refugees “financial literacy,” and providing nine paid internships on a farm.

“Expected outcomes include increases in knowledge of sustainable vegetable production, marketing, and financial literacy for participating farmers, establishment of new, refugee and Native-owned farms, and increased productivity and farm income for those already farming,” the grant said.

The project has received $597,867 and will continue through July 2019.

A second project titled “New Roots for Refugees” was awarded to Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. The project will create an incubator farm for newly settled refugees.

“The long term goal is that refugees farm in Kansas City independently on land that they own or lease at a scale that they desire and manage,” according to the grant. “To reach this goal, we have identified the following objectives: Removal of Barriers to Marketing, Adapted and Increased Agricultural Skills, Financial Management and Farm Capitalization, and Whole Farm Planning.”

The Kansas project will also provide leases to refugees so they can “establish a path toward managing their own farm business.”

“The long term goal of New Roots for Refugees is that refugees will farm independently on owned land or through lease agreements at a scale that they desire, achieve, and manage,” the grant said.

The grant is worth $380,433, bringing the total cost for the two projects to $978,300.

Idaho has one of the highest refugee populations in the country, taking in 1,000 each year, the majority of which are resettled in Boise.

Kansas takes in roughly 350 refugees per year, mostly from Iraq, Bhutan, and Myanmar.


The Office of Refugee Resettlement supports economic development for refugees through their Microenterprise Development, Microenterprise Development-Home Based Child Care, and Individual Development Account programs. These programs equip refugees with the skills and knowledge of the American financial system so that they can become and stay financially independent.


General Economic Development

Financial Literacy Resources
This page lists links to financial literacy and education resources.

Recertification/Re-credentialing of Refugee Professionals Overview
Recertification or re-credentialing will allow internationally trained refugee professionals to return to their career of interest upon resettling in the U.S.

U.S. Medical Licensing Process
This page discusses how international medical graduates, refugees, and immigrants, who want to enter an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency must be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

U.S. Registered Nursing Licensing Process
Nursing licensure standards and regulations for international and domestic nurses in the U.S. are established by individual states.

Microenterprise Development

Microenterprise Development Program Overview
The Microenterprise Development Program helps refugees develop, expand or maintain their own businesses and become financially independent.

Microenterprise Development Grants: Grantee Listing
List of awards and grantees for the Microenterprise Development Grants program.

Microenterprise Development – Home Based Child Care

Microenterprise Development –Home Based Childcare Program Overview
The Microenterprise Development – Home-Based Childcare Program provides business opportunities to refugee women, focusing on childcare mentoring programs that will facilitate their integration into U.S. cultural norms and State Childcare requirements, in a market where there is a shortage of childcare providers.

Individual Development Accounts

Individual Development Accounts Overview
Individual Development Accounts (IDA) are matched savings accounts designed to help refugees save for a specific purchase. Under the IDA program, the matching funds, together with the refugee’s own savings from their employment, are available for purchasing one (or more) of four savings goals.

Individual Development Accounts Grants Grantee Listing
List of awards and grantees for the Individual Development Accounts Grants program.

Sample Individual Development Account Program Operating Procedures Manual
This sample Individual Development Account program operating procedures manual includes such areas procedures as intake, orientation, reporting, terminations, and more.


Uni. N. Carolina is a Broken Institution

UNC claims Christmas vacations, golf outings are microaggressions


CampusReform: To help staff members avoid microaggressions, the University of North Carolina advises gender-neutral dress codes and avoiding phrases like “husband/boyfriend.”

The guidelines, which were posted to UNC’s Employee Forum website Thursday, also warn against such potentially offensive behaviors as complimenting a woman’s shoes, asking people to “stand and be recognized,” and even scheduling vacations around religious observances.

“I don’t know any LGBTQ people.”

The school categorized microaggressions based on “social identity group,” with separate sections for race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, national origin, and class.

The document asserts, for instance, that “referring to ‘husband/boyfriend’ of women, ‘wife/girlfriend’ of men who are coworkers instead of partner/spouse … sets the expectation that people do not identify as LGBTQ until they say otherwise or disclose their sexual orientation.”

Similarly, saying “I don’t know any LGBTQ people” implies that “you have to openly declare your gender identity and sexual orientation for me to care about LGBTQ issues.”

Moreover, the guide adds that “addressing trans people with incorrect gender pronouns, calling them by former names, inquiring about their ‘real’ identity, asking them to explain their gender identity, and denying or failing to acknowledge their pronouns, name, or identity” suggests to the recipient that “as a trans person, you are inferior to and less authentic than cisgender (non-trans) people.”

Even a simple compliment like “I love your shoes,” at least when addressed to a woman in leadership during a Q&A after a speech, really means “I notice how you look and dress more than I value your intellectual contributions. How you look is really important.”

The post also addresses microaggressions against individuals with physical and mental disabilities, warning against phrases that trivialize such conditions.

“Please stand and be recognized,” the school explains, “assumes that everyone is able in this way and ignores the diversity of ability in the space,” while using expressions such as “I’m totally OCD about my files” and “I get ADHD sometimes” “minimizes the experiences of people who live with mental health issues.”

According to UNC, “having an office dress code that applies to men and women differently assumes that your staff fits into one of two gender categories; can also be a violation of anti-discrimination policies.”

For the same reason, the guide adds, “only having ‘man’/’woman’ or ‘male’/‘female’ as options for gender on forms” constitutes a microaggression because it means that one “must fit in the gender binary and select among these predefined categories.”

Suggesting that the staff play golf at a retreat is also a microaggression, UNC contends, since it “assumes employees have the financial resources/exposure to a fairly (expensive and inaccessible) [sic] sport.”

Race and national origin are apparently fraught topics, as well, leading UNC to recommend that individuals neither ask too many questions about those topics nor remain ignorant about them.

“When I look at you, I don’t see color” is a microaggression, for instance, because it constitutes “minimizing/denying a person of color’s racial/ethnic experiences,” as is asking to touch a black person’s hair, because it implies that they are foreign and exotic.

“How did you get here?” constitutes a national origin microaggression because it acknowledges that some “immigrants get to this country illegally,” while asking “Where are you from?” implies that “you are not American and do not belong to this community.”

Meanwhile, telling a foreign-born person that “you speak English really well!” suggests that “if you are born anywhere ‘foreign,’ you cannot speak English well,” and thus is also a microaggression.

Regarding religion, the guide avers that telling someone that “you don’t look Jewish/Native/Muslim” implies that “there is an expected look/attire and you must fit into that norm.”

UNC also states that academic calendars planned around significant religious holidays “further centers the Christian faith and minimizes non-Christian spiritual rituals and observances.”

In a section suggesting strategies for self-correction, the guide encourages staff members who “tend to say ‘you guys’ in mixed company” to “become more inclusive with your language and social media posts,” as well as to “reflect on ways you can increase your cultural intelligence on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

The list was made by Sharbari Dey, assistant director for education and special initiatives at UNC’s Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and Kristia Prince, coordinator for leadership development in the school’s Housing and Residential Education department.

For further reading, the post recommends reading 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say by Dr. Maura Cullen to learn more about microaggressions.

***** More from Daily Caller, Related reading:

Several public colleges and universities have published similar guides to microagressions in recent years. (RELATED: Public University’s Bias-Free Language Guide Calls The Word ‘American’ ‘PROBLEMATIC’)

UNC Chapel Hill is home to a “cultural competency workshop” which instructs that white people are privileged because they can buy Band-Aids “in ‘flesh’ color and have them more or less match” their vaguely beige-hued skin. At least some students have apparently been required to participate in the workshop. (RELATED: University Of North Carolina Diversity Workshop Brands Beige Band-Aids As ‘White Privilege’


Omar Terrorist Went to Saudi via NYU

The boom happened already, how long has it been going on? And what are they really teaching and how is this promoted? It is called Tablighi Jama’at.


Harvard? Uh huh:

The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program At Harvard University

The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program promotes the scholarly study of Islam and the Muslim world in a broadly interdisciplinary context.

Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Established in 1997, the program in Islamic Studies is undergirded by the University’s belief that Islamic religion, culture and history are important areas of inquiry, and that students should be able to pursue such inquiry as a part of their undergraduate education.  At present, the University of Texas at Austin is one of only a handful of four-year institutions in the U.S. that offer Islamic Studies as an independent major; it is the only such program in the state of Texas.

Islamic Studies in U.S. Universities

As in Europe, Islamic studies in the U.S. originated in the tradition of Orientalist scholarship and Christian theology, with its strong textual emphasis, but it has gradually expanded to overlap with Middle East area studies as well as a number of humanistic and social science disciplines, especially religious studies.1 Over the past several decades, and especially since 9/11, scholarly interest in Islamic studies has mushroomed. This interest is visible in the number of doctoral dissertations produced on Islam and Muslims over the past half-century. Read more from Charles Kurzman and Carl W. Ernst University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Orlando Shooter Traveled to Saudi Arabia on Trip Organized By NYU Center

University spokesman says Omar Mateen and three others thought to be family members joined tour group on 2012 trip

Mateen and three others believed to be his family members joined a tour group that was organized by the Islamic Center at New York University, university spokesman John Beckman said.

International students continue to seek out the chance to enroll in Islamic universities and colleges in the US. Islamic colleges provide incredible education to international students who are looking to both advance their education while exploring deeper into their faith. Islamic universities seek to educate their students about the history of their religion as well as continue to build their faith and education for the future.

Islamic Education

The Islamic education main purpose is to educate Muslim students in the United States about the Quran as well as the deep rooted Muslim traditions, known as Sunnah. Islamic colleges are private institution based deep rooted aspects of the faith spread throughout the United States. All of these Islamic colleges share the same message and curriculum. Like most private religious colleges, Islamic universities in America instill an interdisciplinary curriculum with very challenging academic and extracurricular activities. Islamic schools also pride themselves in having incredible faculty and staff who are among the top Muslim educators and scholars in the world. Islamic universities in America follow the teachings of the Quran and their prophet Muhammad. Islamic teachings are the backbone of their universities, with values like knowledge being the upmost important. Islamic colleges seek to turn students into upstanding members of the Muslim community, preparing them for a life of leadership and devotion to their community and their religion. While not all students are expected to be practicing Muslims when they arrive at such a university, they all are expected to follow the basic teachings of the Quran as well as exploring the religion and its customs. Islamic universities seek to make the education affordable for potential students, while also being thoroughly available to all people. Though education is the main fixture for Islamic universities, improving the human experience is a very important function. Islamic colleges in America continue to educate international students and domestic students alike for decades.

Goals of Islamic Colleges and Universities in America

The goals of Islamic universities in America are much like those of any other religious university in the US. The first goal is to educate students on all aspects of the Islamic knowledge. In addition, these universities look to educate students in the proper methods of Islam in order to perform wholly as a Muslim each day. Students are also groomed to be great embers of their community and parish, while providing students with an unwavering sense of knowledge. Like most colleges, the curriculum is based on a four year plan with 120 credits. While each university differs, most Islamic universities push students to major in some sort of Islamic studies area.

Top Islamic Universities in America

There are several Islamic colleges and universities spread throughout the United States which teach a number of different students. While they contain some of the best academics of any college, finding these colleges are quite a bit more challenging. One Islamic college, the Islamic College of Minnesota educates many students. The college has both a graduate and undergraduate section, but only educate students in one major: Islamic Studies.

The Islamic American University is one of the most renowned Islamic colleges in the US. The IAU has several different campuses spread throughout the US in many different states. In addition, the university offers several different online programs for students. An important aspect for international students is to make sure that any classes they have taken transfer into the university, and as well be sure to check into the accreditation of any such college. Islamic education is exceptional in many facets. These universities regularly put out top Islamic leaders in the community and enroll top level international students.

International students will truly enjoy the experiences at these great universities. With a strong education, a diverse and intellectual student body as well as a curriculum based on multiple disciplines and the overall educational experience, international students can find true success in these top universities. Islamic universities are committed to bringing the best education to international students so that they can seek to educate the world with their values of equality and service.

The Govt Loans/Grants You Will Never Know About

Nothing about the fraudulent machinery in government can be described in a headline or in 140 characters and that is especially true when it comes to the Clinton’s and that pesky State Department.

This could read like a Hillary-wood script but it does have some familiar fingerprints as well from those of Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham.

At a confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US Secretary of State designate Hilary Clinton, while speaking briefly about President-elect Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, implied that microfinance would be an important part of the Obama administration’s agenda. Senator Clinton noted that Ann Dunham had worked on microfinance in Indonesia and that she had been scheduled to attend a microfinance forum at a United Nations conference in Beijing in 1995, which Ms. Clinton attended. Ms. Dunham, however, could not make it to the conference as she was diagnosed with cancer that eventually claimed her life few months after the conference. MicroCapital recently reported on Ann Dunham’s work as a researcher and practitioner of microfinance in Indonesia and her philosophy on the empowerment of women as a means to address poverty. Hilary Clinton also expressed similar sentiments at the hearing where she stated how, through her work on microfinance around the world, she had ‘seen firsthand how small loans given to poor women to start small businesses can raise standards of living and transform local economies’. Much more from MicroCapital.

Disgraced Clinton Donor Got $13M in State Dept. Grants Under Hillary

Hillary Clinton’s Department of State awarded at least $13 million in grants, contracts and loans to her longtime friend and Clinton Foundation donor Muhammad Yunus, despite his being ousted in 2011 as managing director of the Bangladesh-based Grameen Bank amid charges of corruption, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The tax funds were given to Yunus through 18 separate U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) award transactions listed by the federal contracting site Much more here.


U.S. Doesn’t Track if Millions in Biz “Loans” to Refugees on Public Assistance Are Repaid

The U.S. government gives refugees on public assistance special “loans” of up to $15,000 to start a business but fails to keep track of defaults that could translate into huge losses for American taxpayers, records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. The cash is distributed through a program called Microenterprise Development run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Since 2010 the program has granted thousands of loans to refugees that lack the financial resources, credit history or personal assets to qualify for business loans from commercial banks. Most if not all the recipients already get assistance or subsidies from the government, according to the qualification guidelines set by the Microenterprise Development Program. It’s a risky operation that blindly gives public funds to poor foreign nationals with no roots in the U.S. and there’s no follow up to assure the cash is paid back. The idea behind it is to “equip refugees with the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs” by helping them expand or maintain their own business and become financially independent.

Earlier this year, Judicial Watch submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to HHS for records related to the refugee business loan program. Specifically, JW asked for the number of loans that are written off per year and the amount of the write-off per defaulted loan. Unlike commercial banks or other lending institutions, HHS doesn’t keep track of default rates on loans issued through the Microenterprise program. This is astonishing considering that these are taxpayer dollars being furnished in the form of loans to foreign nationals granted refuge in the United States. An HHS official told JW the agency doesn’t have a tracking system in place to provide figures involving loan defaults. However, the agency is “preparing to collect this information in the future,” according to the records obtained by JW from the agency.

What we do know is that from 2010 to 2015, HHS gave a total of 3,096 of these so-called micro loans, the records show. In 2015 a record 558 loans were granted to refuges but it’s not clear for what amount. At the high end, if all 558 loans made last year were for the full $15,000 available to each refugee that would mean that HHS can’t account for an astounding $8.37 million. Here’s the rest of the breakdown, according to the records furnished by HHS as a result of JW’s FOIA request; in 2010 the agency granted 550 micro loans; in 2011, 541; 2012, 437; 2013, 466; 2014, 544. That’s a big chunk of change. The last year HHS filed an official annual report on this questionable cash giveaway was 2011. No official records have been made available to the public since then, which is why JW launched an investigation. According to the 2011 annual report, which resembles a promotional brochure, the default rate is only 3% but no further details or breakdown is offered making the information less than credible.

HHS is not the only government agency doling out huge sums of cash for this cause, though its focus on refugees appears to be unique. Others, such as the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) also dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars to various microenterprise causes. For instance, in one recent year alone USAID spent $223 million on microenterprise development activities, according to figures released by the agency. The USDA also allocates large sums to provide loans and grants to microenterprise development through a special “Rural Microloan Revolving Fund”and the DOL regularly pours lots of money into various microenterprise projects that are promoted as workforce investments in areas with high rates of poverty.

But hold on….there is more and there is some tracking, well maybe. FieldUs

Advancing microenterprise through knowledge and innovation

Hillary Clinton will speak at featured event at Aspen Ideas Fest and the break out sessions at the Aspen Institute

Structuring and Sustaining the Relationships that Support US Microenterprise Programs, 64 page document here.

Then comes the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the ‘microenterprise’ grants and loans. Just a sampling below from FY 2015.

Microenterprise Development Grants

Fiscal Year 2014/2015

Microenterprise Development
Anew America Community Corporation Berkeley CA 9/29/17 $200,000 Viola Gonzales
1918 University Avenue, Suite 3A Berkeley, CA 94704-1051
510-540-7785 x301
Pacific Asian Consortium Los Angeles CA 9/29/16 $215,000 Namoch Sokhom
1055 Wilshire Blvd. 900B, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Opening Doors, Inc. Sacramento CA 9/29/16 $190,000 Debra Debonot
1111 Howe Avenue, Suite 125, Sacramento, CA 95825
Community Enterprise Development Center Denver CO 9/29/16 $250,000 Sisay Teklu
1600 Downing Street, #750, Denver, CO 80218-1412
Mountain States Group Boise ID 9/29/17 $125,000 Ron Berning
1607 W. Jefferson St., Boise, ID 83702
208-336-5533 x230
Jewish Family & Career Services Louisville KY 9/29/16 $174,008 Judy Freundlich
2821 Klempner Way, Loiusville, KY 40205
502-452-6341 x224
Coastal Enterprise, Inc. Portland ME 9/29/17 $125,000 John E. Scribner
2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 206, Portland, ME 04101
Massachusetts Office of Refugee & Immigrants Boston MA 9/29/17 $250,000 Scott W. Levin
600 Washington Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02111-1704
Arab community Center for Econ. & Social Services Dearborn MI 9/29/17 $207,733 Sonia Harb
2651 Sauline Court, Dearborn, MI 48120
Hmong American Partnership St. Paul MN 9/29/17 $230,000 Boa Vang
1075 Arcade Street, St. Paul, MN 55106-3213
International Institute of Metropolitan St. Louis St. Louis MO 9/29/16 $245,998 Suzanne Lelaurin 
3654 S. Grand, St. Louis, MO 63118
314-773-9090 x150
Community Center for New Americans New York NY 9/29/16 $250,000 Yanki Tshering
120 Broadway, Suite 230, New York, NY10271-002
International Rescue Committee New York NY 9/29/17 $220,000 Jennifer Sime
122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168
International Rescue Committee New York NY 9/29/16 $175,000 Jennifer Sime
122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro NC 9/29/17 $216,267 Valera Francis
1111 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC 27412-5013
Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency team Alburquerque NM 9/29/16 $200,000 Agnes Noonan
609 Broadway, NE, Alburquerque, NM 87102-2334
Economic and Community Development Institute Colombus OH 9/29/16 $250,000 D. Craven
1655 Old Leonard Avenue, Columbus, OH 43219
Women’s Opportunities Resource Center Philadelphia PA 9/29/17 $195,000 Hadi White
210 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
ECDC Enterprise Development Group Arlington VA 9/29/16 $250,000 Kevin Kelley
901 S. Highland Street, Arlington, VA 22204
703-685-0510 x225
Diocese of Olympia Seattle WA 9/29/17 $225,000 Greg Hope
1610 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98144
SNAP Financial Services Spokane WA 9/29/16 $216,189 Kerri Rodkey
3102 W Fort George Wright Drive, Spokane, WA 99224-5203
509-456-7106 x112


Latin America, Hezbollah Moving Cocaine, Funding Terror

Hezbollah moving ‘tons of cocaine’ in Latin America, Europe to finance terror operations


Taylor/Dinan/WashingtonTimes: Hezbollah’s terrorism finance operations are thriving across Latin America months after the Drug Enforcement Administration linked the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group to drug cartels in the region, U.S. lawmakers were told this week.

Former DEA operations chief Michael Braun said Hezbollah is “moving [multiple] tons of cocaine” from South America to Europe and has developed “the most sophisticated money laundering scheme or schemes that we have ever witnessed.”

The agency announced in February that it had arrested several Hezbollah operatives accused of working with a major Colombian drug cartel to traffic drugs to Europe and launder money through Lebanon. Those arrests come against a backdrop of rising fears in Washington about smuggling connections between Middle East terrorist groups and the Western Hemisphere.

Hezbollah has “metastasized into a hydra with international connections that the likes of [the Islamic State] and groups like al Qaeda could only hope to have,” Mr. Braun told the House Financial Services Committee.

Adding to concerns about security threats from Central and South America, intelligence reports have also tracked how smugglers managed to sneak illegal immigrants from the Middle Eastern and South Asia straight to the doorstep of the U.S. — including helping one Afghan who U.S. authorities say was part of an attack plot in North America.

Immigration officials identified at least a dozen Middle Eastern men smuggled into the Western Hemisphere by a Brazilian-based network that connected them with Mexicans who guided them to the U.S. border, according to internal government documents reviewed this month by The Washington Times.


Those smuggled included Palestinians, Pakistanis and the Afghan man who Homeland Security officials said had family ties to the Taliban and was “involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. and/or Canada.”

Concerns about Hezbollah’s activities in Latin America have surged the DEA’s announcement in February that top operatives from the group’s so-called Business Affairs Component, or BAC, “have established business relationships” with South American drug cartels such as the Colombia-based Oficina de Envigado, a crime syndicate “responsible for supplying large quantities of cocaine to the European and United States drug markets.”

The DEA said several of the BAC’s Europe-based operatives had been arrested on charges of trafficking drugs and laundering money from South America to purchase weapons and finance the group’s military activities in Syria. The agency described an intricate network of money couriers who collect and transport millions of euros in drug proceeds from Europe to the Middle East.


“The currency is then paid in Colombia to drug traffickers,” it said, adding that “a large portion of the drug proceeds was found to transit through Lebanon, and a significant percentage of these proceeds are benefiting terrorist organizations, namely Hezbollah.”

The DEA said seven countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, were involved in an ongoing investigation. But few details were provided about how many suspects had been apprehended or where they are being held.

Officials said the most significant arrest was of Mohamad Noureddine, whom the DEA accused of being a Lebanese money launderer for Hezbollah. A week prior to the announcement, the Treasury Department had imposed sanctions freezing any U.S. accounts tied to Mr. Noureddine as well as to Hamdi Zaher El Dine, another suspected money launderer.

Decades of activity

U.S. officials have long been wary of Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamic group.

While it has a mainstream political arm in Lebanon, officials have linked the group to terrorist attacks in various corners of the world over the past 25 years — the vast majority targeting Israel. The State Department listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the late 1990s and has characterized Iran as a leading state sponsor of terrorism largely on grounds that it supplies the group with weapons.

But the full scope of Hezbollah’s operations has long been a subject of debate in Washington. The DEA’s recent claims followed years of speculation about Iranian activities in Latin America.

Responding to pressure from Republican lawmakers, the State Department conducted a formal probe into the matter in 2013 and issued a report claiming that Iran was not supporting any active terrorist cells in the region.

While the report said the number of Iranian officials operating in Latin America had increased, the report concluded Tehran had far less influence in Latin America than critics claimed.

But former officials like Mr. Braun, who retired as DEA chief of operations in 2008, say Hezbollah is extremely active in the region.

President Obama signed the “Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act” last year, authorizing a range of actions, including sanctions, to block Hezbollah’s ability to fund itself.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow on Iran and illicit finance with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told lawmakers at Wednesday’s hearing that Congress and the administration should use the law to “aggressively focus” on Hezbollah’s presence in Latin America.

Brazilian connection

Mr. Ottolenghi pointed to the group’s “vast network of support,” particularly in Brazil, which is home to some 7 million people of Lebanese descent, including an estimated 1 million Shiite Muslims.

Hezbollah generates loyalty among the local Shia communities by managing their religious and educational structures,” Mr. Ottolenghi told the hearing. “It then leverages loyalty to solicit funds and use business connections to its own advantage, including, critically, to facilitate its interactions with organized crime.”

He cited a 2014 report by the Brazilian newspaper O Globo that outlined a connection between Hezbollah and the Primeiro Comando da Capital, a Sao Paulo-based prison gang, which is widely regarded to be among the country’s biggest exporters of cocaine.

“Drug cartels need middlemen, as well as commodity and service providers, for the supply line and delivery to cartels in Colombia, Venezuela and Central America,” Mr. Ottolenghi said. “They need assistance facilitating transit to West Africa before drugs cross the Sahara on their way to Western Europe and enabling the producers, refiners and cartels to launder their revenues and acquire the accessories for the trade in the process.”