GOP lawmaker attacks Catholic, Jewish charities for helping asylum-seekers

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Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) accused the two faith-based groups of 'running secretive, closed-down hotels.' But they have nothing to hide.

Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) went on Fox News on Monday to attack two faith-based charities that are helping immigrants who are seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In an appearance on "Fox & Friends," Gooden claimed that the two charities — Catholic Charities USA and the Jewish Family Foundation — are operating "secretive" programs to bring more "illegal aliens" into the United States.

"What I found were non-profits that were running secretive, closed-down hotels," Gooden said, recounting a recent trip he had taken to San Diego.

Gooden also attacked the humanitarian groups for "encouraging illegal immigration" by giving "packets" to refugees trying to start their lives in the United States. According to Gooden, the packets "detail how to go to the airport, how to get past TSA without any identification, how to enroll your children in schools and assimilate in whatever community you desire to go in."

Finally, Gooden slammed companies including AT&T, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo for giving money to the two faith-based charitable organizations.

The religious charities' work is hardly a secret, despite Gooden's claims.

 

Both Catholic Charities USA and the Jewish Family Association of San Diego explain in detail on their websites the various services they provide to immigrants and refugees seeking asylum in the United States, many of whom have gone through long and dangerous journeys.

"Catholic Charities affirms the inherent dignity bestowed on every human person, including immigrants and refugees, no matter the circumstances that compel a person to begin a new life in our community," the group's website reads.

"In addition to providing essential services to immigrants and refugees to the U.S., we also advocate for policies that protect family unity and allow newcomers to contribute to and more fully participate in their new communities."

On Nov. 1, Catholic Charities USA announced a new program called "The Border Is Everywhere" to assist immigrants in need of help.

"By developing a national standard of practice for comprehensive referral and social services, Catholic Charities can promote the healthy integration and wellbeing unique to these brave individuals as they start their lives in the United States," Sister Donna Markham, the group's CEO, announced in a press release about the initiative.

The press release notes that Catholic Charities will be providing "respite centers" to immigrants "where they receive food, clothing, showers, basic healthcare, and other fundamental services."

The publicly described system is a far cry from the "secretive" description given by Gooden and amplified by Fox.

Similarly, on its website Jewish Family Service of San Diego details its immigration services, noting the group provides a comprehensive suite of legal assistance and support for migrant families. The San Diego Tribune detailed the group's immigration aid work in a March 26 story.

In 2018, Jewish Family Service launched its Migrant Family Shelter to provide "humanitarian and respite shelter for asylum-seekers who have been released into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security."

The shelter "has kept thousands of migrant families off San Diego’s streets, ensuring they did not further strain the capacities of service providers who were assisting the region’s ever-growing homeless population," according to the group's website.

In the past, Fox has pushed misleading stories about migrant "caravans" in concert with Republicans' fearmongering around refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

The network has demonized migrants, going as far as exaggerating statistics to argue that they pose a threat to native-born Americans. On his nightly program, Fox News host Tucker Carlson has promoted the racist "great replacement" theory to stoke fears about Haitian refugees entering the country.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.