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Catholic Charities Work with Migrants - Dispelling the Myths

In recent weeks, we’ve received calls and questions regarding the role Catholic Charities takes regarding immigration, particularly along the Southern Border. 

We felt it was important to address some of the concerns we have heard. 

First, it is important to note that Catholic Charities is a network of more than 168 independent agencies operating more than 3,900 service sites across the country.  While each agency provides programs and services unique and specific to the needs of their local communities, all agencies in the network provide programs and services to their community’s most poor and vulnerable members. We do this in direct response to our Gospel Calling in Matthew 25. Collectively, we agree that the crisis at the Border is a crisis of epic magnitude. 

The management of the Southern Border is the responsibility of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Catholic Charities role is to provide humanitarian aide once persons entering the country have been cleared to enter. Migrants typically stay at respite centers for one or two nights before continuing to their destination cities to comply with their immigration court requirements. Their destinations are determined by DHS and the migrants, not by Catholic Charities. This work is legal and done in close coordination with local, state and federal authorities. As a general rule, once cleared for departure to a destination city, all new arrivals receive scheduled dates and times to continue with their processing and compliance with the asylum and entrance protocols. 

Here in the Diocese of Palm Beach, the work we do focuses specifically on asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking and those immigrants for who a legal remedy to their status exists.  Our team works to address basic needs and foster the long term stability of persons granted asylum status.  We expertly represent individuals through the legal process of immigration including obtaining permanent visas, work visas and citizenship.  We also work to address the trauma and health concerns that have been exacerbated as a result of trafficking. 

In recent weeks there has been significant messaging that suggests that Catholic Charities—the network as a whole—plays a role in the trafficking of immigrants, the flying or transporting of new arrivals to remote or distant locations across the country, and that we play a role in the enticement of individuals to this country through any means necessary.  These assertions are incorrect, and are destructive and dismissive of the important work we undertake in response to this crisis. 

We invite you to learn more by visiting