As Democrats rage against the Catholic Church for its pro-life advocacy, federal dollars flowing to Catholic groups have simultaneously skyrocketed, thanks to the Church’s role in caring for illegal immigrants flooding across the border.
Catholic Charities USA and its affiliates across the country have long provided care for refugees, unaccompanied minors, and impoverished immigrants, with funding from taxpayers. As President Joe Biden’s soft-on-illegal-immigration policies have seen a monthly surge across the border roughly equal to the population of Buffalo, government agencies have relied on the religious group to provide shelter, transportation, and other services through dramatically increased federal grants.
The feds have granted Catholic Charities $300 million so far in fiscal year 2022 for migrant services including “refugee and entrant assistance” and an “unaccompanied alien children program,” according to a Daily Wire analysis of federal spending data. The funds come primarily from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, sometimes after first flowing through a state government. The fiscal year ends in September, meaning the year-end total is on pace to hit $400 million.
That’s four times what it was in 2010 and 2020. In between, the spending spiked — though not as high as now — as former President Barack Obama dealt with his own “migrant surge” and flood of refugees.
Even as the church helped illegal immigrants, a cause shared by the Left, it has incurred the wrath of leftists following the June Supreme Court ruling Dobbs v. Jackson, which overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states to restrict or even ban abortion.
Numerous churches have been vandalized or attacked in recent days. In West Virginia, the St. Colman Catholic Church, a historic site built in 1878, was burned to the ground. In Houston, the Saco Company Catholic Store, which sells religious apparel, also caught fire. Authorities in Virginia responded to a Catholic church and found smoke, an accelerant, and profane graffiti saying “THIS WON’T STOP.”
Catholic Charities responded to the Supreme Court ruling by highlighting that it also “provides social services to help women and girls during pregnancy and after the birth of a child. These social services include financial and material support; care and counseling during prenatal, postnatal and postpartum stages; adoption; and housing.”
Much of Catholic Charities’ federally-funded immigration work was classified as “refugee and entrant assistance,” a category that includes illegal immigrants who are not refugees but have simply entered the country. For example, in October 2021 HHS used emergency authorization from Congress to set aside $73 million over two years to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Worth, near the epicenter of the border crisis in Texas.
It also obligated $38 million to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for refugee and entrant assistance, some of which has been doled out in recent months to Catholic Charities groups in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Tennessee, and Utah.
In April, Virginia’s Commonwealth Catholic Charities received $248,065 for “FY22 Residential (Shelter) Services for Unaccompanied Children.” In March, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta took $48,000 for “FY22 MRS Safe Passages II” under the category “Unaccompanied Alien Children Program.”
But a second factor leading to a sharply increased demand for Catholic social service providers was the bungled withdraw of the U.S. military from Afghanistan, followed by the airlifting of Afghan nationals who were classified as refugees into the U.S. In September 2021, the Department of State awarded the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops $32 million over one year to “provide initial relocation support services for Afghans paroled into the United States.”
Catholic Charities says it “provided resettlement services to almost 12,000 Afghan new arrivals in 36 states in 2021. Ukrainians also began to be resettled in early 2022.”
Catholic Charities did not return a request for comment for this story.
The Daily Wire’s analysis looked at grants (not contracts) to Catholic Charities and its affiliates and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for work dealing with refugees, entrants, or unaccompanied minors. It included prime grants and subgrants, but excluded subgrants when they would be duplicative. The fiscal-year analysis looked at amounts that were paid, not the total obligated amounts.