Catholics and House GOP Question Bishops’ Cash Bonanza From Immigrant Smuggling

By Joseph D'Hippolito Published on August 18, 2023

With no projected end to the chaos of illegal immigration at the Mexican border, some Congressional Republicans have decided to confront the religious agencies aggravating the problem — including Catholic Charities, which plays a pivotal role in human smuggling, as The Stream reported.

Even conservative Catholics are organizing to oppose their bishops’ support of open borders. The Deposit of Faith Coalition held a press conference July 20 in Washington, D.C. to demand that Congress stop funding 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 USCCB not only funnels the grants it receives to such agencies as Catholic Charities. It encourages human trafficking to promote Pope Francis’ globalist agenda, as The Stream also reported.

The coalition’s press conference represents the latest in a growing backlash against the Biden Administration’s apathy and religious agencies’ social irresponsibility. 

Enough is Enough

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, Texas Rep. Jake Ellzey and Wisconsin Rep. Tom Tiffany, 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 NGOs 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.”

When Mayorkas failed to comply, Gooden repeated his request in a second letter on 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.

Two weeks earlier, 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. But it passed the Republican-led House and awaits its reception in the Senate, which Democrats control. 

The Federal Gravy Train

If passed, the bill could dramatically decrease Catholic agencies’ share of federal immigration funding. As The Stream reported, those agencies received a total of $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 $3 billion in federal funds received for immigration matches the amount bishops lost in sex abuse settlements.

The USCCB not only acts as a contractor distributing funds. It also 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 The Stream 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. 

The Littlest Victims

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.

Catholic Charities is probably the number one or two NGO that is handling the trafficking of children.

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 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.” 

Weaponizing Guilt

Gooden not only tried to rally support for Congressional investigations through his letter. He 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 the manipulative rhetoric that supports a façade of false compassion and self-righteousness.

“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.”

 

Joseph D’Hippolito has written commentaries for such outlets as the Jerusalem Post, the American Thinker and Front Page Magazine. He works as a free-lance writer.

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