Judicial Watch, CatholicVote sue DHS and HHS for Catholic charities communications

CatholicVote President Brian Burch said the Biden administration's "lack of transparency and obstruction forced us to file these federal lawsuits."

Updated: February 9, 2022 - 6:02pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Judicial Watch and CatholicVote announced Wednesday they have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain communication records between federal agencies and various Catholic charity groups that allegedly helped illegal immigrants.

The conservative legal watchdog initially filed a FOIA request in September for communications between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), specifically Border Patrol, with Catholic agencies including Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (CCRGV) and the Diocese of Brownsville in San Juan, Texas.

The two FOIA requests also ask for communications with and about Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of CCRGV. 

Judicial Watch accused Pimentel of acknowledging that her charity receives tax dollars to buy "very few" plane and bus tickets for illegal immigrants to travel throughout the United States.

The group also noted that in July 2021, a La Joya, Texas, police officer found a COVID-positive illegal immigrant family in a fast food restaurant. Border Patrol released them because they were positive for COVID, but the family told the officer that CCRGV paid for their hotel room. 

CatholicVote President Brian Burch said the Biden administration's "lack of transparency and obstruction forced us to file these federal lawsuits."

CatholicVote.org is a lobbying organization of Americans who believe the "timeless truths of the Catholic faith are good for America."

"American Catholics deserve to know the full extent of the U.S. government’s role in funding and coordinating with Catholic church affiliated agencies at the border, and what role these agencies played in the record surge of illegal immigrants over the past year," Burch said. "We will do whatever is necessary to uncover the truth."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said: "Americans have the right to know how the Biden administration is using tax dollars to conspire with ‘charities’ and release illegal immigrants into their communities."

Illegal immigration has hit record highs under the Biden administration. 

Pennsylvania state lawmakers raised the alarm at the end of last year about dozens of flights allegedly chartered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to bring illegal immigrants deeper into the United States.