Bud Kennedy

July 15, 2014

Conspiracy hobbyists zero in on a new target: Catholic Charities?!

A libertarian political website unfairly accuses the charity, simply because it has been housing child detainees more than a year.

First, the border hawks lied about the children coming to Texas.

Now, they’re lying about Catholic Charities of Fort Worth and others trying to help.

A Virginia-based conspiracy website accuses Catholic Charities of being “bankrolled” by the White House for an “invasion.”

Based solely on one East Texas Republican’s misguided suspicions, LibertyNews.com’s “exclusive breaking news” went out to Tea Partiers and liberty conservatives nationwide.

Simply because Catholic Charities has served child detainees for more than a year, LibertyNews.com accused the charity of conspiring in “the invasion currently underway.”

Longview Republican Terri Harris Hill based her fears solely on federal records showing that the local Catholic Charities received $350,000 last year for immigration services.

“I think there is something suspicious because the government started awarding grants before the surge,” she said by phone.

“I mean, how did they know?”

The question is not how Catholic Charities knew.

It’s how little the gripers know.

Tens of thousands of foreign children each year come to the United States without a parent or legal permission. Under a quirk in a 2008 law, children from Mexico are returned, but Central American children stay in shelters or with families until a court rules if they are refugees or trafficking victims.

More than two years ago, Gov. Rick Perry wrote President Barack Obama complaining sharply about a “surge of unaccompanied illegal minors.”

Many more have come since.

But this isn’t new.

Catholic Charities of Fort Worth began accepting child detainees in June 2013 and cared for 198 in the first year. That shelter was recently expanded from eight to 16 and now 32 beds where children stay for a couple of weeks.

The charity has hosted and fostered refugees and children for years.

“There’s no conspiracy — this is what we do,” said Pat Svacina, spokesman for the local diocese.

In a Sunday letter to all parishioners, Bishop Michael Olson of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic diocese asked for prayers for the children and “welcome box” gifts or Wal-Mart gift cards.

With some critics already planning overpass “go home” protests Friday and Saturday in Fort Worth and Arlington, Olson asked the community to respond in a way that won’t “do more harm to these already vulnerable minors.”

Hill, author of a frothing online petition bashing the children as a “public safety risk, public health risk and reprehensible financial strain,” is not convinced.

“This is a church running a government program with taxpayer dollars,” she said.

“That’s not in the Constitution.”

She’s reading the wrong gospel.

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