With no projected end to the chaos of illegal immigration, some Congressional Republicans have decided to confront the religious agencies aggravating the problem at the Mexican border — including Catholic Charities, which plays a pivotal role in that chaos, as FrontPage Magazine reported.
Even conservative Catholics organized to oppose their church’s support of open borders. The Deposit of Faith Coalition held a press conference July 20 in Washington, D.C. to demand that Congress stop giving funds for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The website Church Militant, one of the members, calls the coalition “a group of about a dozen Catholic or Catholic-led outfits.”
The coalition’s press conference represents growing public opposition to the Biden “Administration’s” apathy and religious agencies’ social irresponsibility.
In December, Texas Republican Rep. Lance Gooden, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a letter for “immediate access to all records and communication relating to your department’s border practices and regulations.”
The letter accused DHS of “allowing non-governmental organizations the freedom to aid and abet illegal aliens.” Two other Republicans, Wisconsin Rep. Tom Tiffany, another committee member, and Texas Rep. Jake Ellzey signed the letter.
Gooden also sent letters to Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Services and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Gooden accused those agencies of “violating federal law and regulation, placing migrants and American communities at risk, and subjecting local communities to unreasonable burdens.”
As a result, Gooden wrote, Congress would investigate those agencies, which must preserve records of federal reimbursement for food, shelter, transportation, medical care and “various supportive services.”
“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing any organization facilitating the movement of illegal immigrants across our border,” Gooden wrote. “When NGO’s transport unauthorized aliens into the nation’s interior, it becomes increasingly difficult for federal immigration enforcement agencies to monitor their whereabouts and protect our communities.”
Mayorkas failed to comply so Gooden repeated his request in a second letter May 15. This time, the co-signers were California Rep. Tom McClintock, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security and Enforcement, and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Then in a Congressional hearing July 26, Gooden confronted Mayorkas in person.
“Countless non-government organizations provide ways and means to illegal immigrants to cross the border and stay here indefinitely,” Gooden said. “Many of these are actively encouraging and enticing poor illegal immigrants to cross our borders with the promise of assistance. They promise to provide financial, logistical and transportation assistance in the form of money, food and lodging, and transportation to anywhere in the country.
“I’ve seen this with my own eyes. I’ve been to these organizations’ facilities at our borders. They are sending out the message that the border is open and will provide assistance. Their help comes even with legal guidance and cheat sheets for what to do when they get to wherever it is they’d like a free plane ticket to.”
Two weeks before Gooden’s second letter, on May 2, Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart sponsored a border security bill that included provisions to eliminate FEMA’s Shelter and Services Program, which helps migrants awaiting resolution of their status and received $800 million for this year. In March, a report from the Office of the Inspector General found that 18 local agencies in four states misused $12.9 million they received under the program and failed to provide records for $7.4 million of that total.
The USCCB responded with a campaign to oppose Diaz-Balart’s bill, even providing pre-written letters for Catholics to send to Congress. But the Republican-led House passed the bill, which awaits its reception in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
If passed, the bill could dramatically decrease religious agencies’ share of federal immigration funding. For example, as FrontPage Magazine reported, Catholic agencies received $3.053 billion between 2008 and 2022. During that period, Catholic Charities collected $1.86 billion, while the USCCB got $1.113 billion in direct federal grants, the fifth largest total among all agencies. From that $1.113 billion, the USCCB gave $586 million to Catholic Charities.
The USCCB not only distributes the funds to Catholic agencies. It uses the money to finance dioceses and to compensate for funds lost in settling cases of clerical sex abuse. Complicit Clergy, a Catholic website, noted that the $3 billion in federal funds received matches the amount lost in those settlements.
To keep the money coming, various agencies actively encourage migrants to enter the United States illegally, even to the point of guiding large caravans to the border, as FrontPage reported. “The Catholic ‘Underground Railroad’ of migrant safe houses that extend across Central America, through Mexico, and up to and into the U.S. is a well-oiled machine,” wrote Michelle Malkin, a Catholic.
While investigating the role NGOs play in human smuggling, the Heritage Foundation found through geofencing that Catholic Charities, at its facility in San Juan, Texas, used nearly 3,400 separate mobile phones to link anonymous contacts in 433 of the nation’s 435 Congressional districts.
Among the migrants are children, including many who arrive without parents or guardians. As a result, the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program has received more direct federal grants than any other federal immigration. In 2022, Catholic agencies received about $97 million of the $2.709 billion allocated to the program.
Yet many of those children become targets for sexual predators and traffickers who also enter the United States illegally. Project Veritas discovered 44 children living at one address and another 25 at a separate address. One 16-year old admitted to being pimped by her so-called aunt.
Elizabeth Yore, former general counsel for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and a conservative Catholic, called Catholic Charities “probably the number one or two NGO that is handling the trafficking of children,” she said. “Sexual predators go where vulnerable children are. You can’t tell me that there aren’t hundreds, if not thousands, of sexual predators who are posing as sponsors for these vulnerable children.”
In a May letter to his Congressional colleagues, Gooden specifically accused Catholic Charities of failing “to verify how the organization ensures migrant children are in safe hands” and acting “to secretly transport and lodge undocumented immigrants.”
At the July 26 hearing, Gooden expressed his frustration to Mayorkas with his and other parties’ refusal to answer questions.
“I have requested for over two years this information from Homeland Security,” Gooden said. “I’ve requested this information from Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Services, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, FEMA, three different airlines and even hotels. Each request has gone unanswered.
“I’m really disappointed that I can’t get answers to those questions. I can’t even get acknowledgement from you about what’s happening there when you’ve stated that you’re partners with these organizations.”
While asking his colleagues to support investigations, Gooden criticized religious agencies’ tactic of using guilt to intimidate critics asking legitimate questions.
“Instead of working to address this issue together, non-profits have refused to cooperate with Congressional requests for information and other documents,” he wrote. “Heads of religious organizations attacked me, my colleagues, and our conservative constituents as those who only ‘call themselves Christians’ and fail to remember that ‘the gospel compels us’ to aid migrants.”
But Gooden dismissed that manipulative rhetoric, which supports a facade of phony compassion that disguises the arrogant rejection of accountability.
“By facilitating the mass inflow of illegal immigrants,” Gooden wrote, “NGOs risk our national security and expose migrants to exploitation through abusive labor practices, human trafficking, and smuggling.”
Yet if it means more public money for these private organizations, why should they care?