Meanwhile, in nearby Mission, Texas, Our Lady of Guadalupe church was forced to close its overflow shelter for migrants after a woman tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 4. The facility is set to re-open on Aug. 16, and serves about 300 families per night.
A document from the Department of Homeland Security stated that 18% of migrant families and 20% of unaccompanied children had tested positive for COVID-19 during the last half of July and the beginning of August.
On July 29, Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley said that Abbott’s order would significantly restrict its ministry, and noted that it took care to isolate COVID-positive migrants, placing them in hotels at its own expense.
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley has also partnered with American Medical Response to provide COVID tests for migrants in McAllen, the city noted on Aug. 4.
“Catholic Charities’ work with migrants is rooted in the Gospel and in Catholic social teaching,” said the joint Aug. 12 statement of Catholic Charities USA and the Texas bishops.
However, Catholic Charities admitted it is “concerned” with its ability to keep up care for “the growing number of newcomers.”
“The immigration system in the U.S. is in dire need of being revamped,” said the statement. “While those laws and trajectories remain outside of our control, Catholic Charities’ humanitarian work continues in full congruence with U.S. law.”
On July 28, Fox News host Brian Kilmede was also critical of Catholic Charities' work with migrants, complaining that donations were going to assist “other people from other countries who come here to America illegally.” He asked if the group was “ethically challenged.”
The agency’s work is “humanitarian, not political,” Catholic Charities stated on Thursday.
“Agencies along the southern U.S. border, including in Texas, and around the country have provided these services in coordination with the federal government for decades across multiple presidential administrations.”
Catholic Charities explained that immigration and refugee services have been part of the organization since its founding more than a century ago, and that the organization works alongside federal agencies and other nonprofits to meet the needs of migrants.
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Catholic Charities said it was “grateful” for the chance to work in border communities, “so that together we can serve those in need and keep our local communities safe.”
“We praise the tireless efforts of the Catholic Charities member agencies at the border and throughout the country in their ministry to migrants,” the national organization said.
“With constantly changing conditions, surges in border crossings, limited facilities, the media spotlight, and the pressures of regulatory efforts designed to curtail their humanitarian work, they march on caring for one human life at a time — whether it be a fearful child, a parent seeking to provide for his or her family or a potential victim of human trafficking,” said Catholic Charities.
“In caring for the stranger, they are the hands of Jesus Christ.”