Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington has been aiding migrants arriving at the nation’s capital for the past week after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) began transporting them out of Texas in an effort to combat surges of illegal border crossings.
Catholic Charities’ Sister Sharlet Wagner, who is also an immigration attorney, said her group’s goal is to be a “compassionate presence” as she spoke to the media Friday after the third charter bus of migrants traveling from Texas to D.C. had arrived.
“All we know is that we’ve got a group of people who are arriving who need help, and we want to be there and be a compassionate presence, and help them in whatever ways we can,” Wagner said.
The group had been present on Wednesday and Thursday when the first and second buses from Texas had arrived, Wagner confirmed, adding, “We are just focused on helping the people who are in front of us, meeting their needs.”
Catholic Charities USA, the national affiliate of Wagner’s group, is part of the catch and release network of government-funded and business-backed nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
The huge network uses government and donor funds to transport and settle the growing inflow of illegal and quasi-legal migrants, who are typically being delivered to the border by human smugglers, also known as coyotes. The network provides travel aid, shelter, and food to the migrants as they seek jobs, homes, schooling, government aid, and legal residency throughout the United States.
The migrants who had arrived in D.C. told Breitbart News they were from Venezuela and Colombia. One family also said they were from Nigeria and that they were hoping to purchase a train ticket from Union Station to Baltimore.
Wagner reaffirmed Catholic Charities’ purpose as she spoke outside Ebenezers Coffeehouse in Capitol Hill on Friday morning. The coffee shop had coordinated with Catholic Charities to accept the migrants, and the two entities worked together to escort several of the migrants from the bus dropoff location to the basement of Ebenezers.
Wagner explained to the media while the migrants were stationed out of sight downstairs:
So they’re eating. We’re trying to find out where they want to go next, and it sounds like most of them do want to move on to other places. They have family and friends elsewhere so we’re finding out where they want to go and what they need. Some of them will want showers. We may take them to a location where they can have a shower, where they can change their clothes, and we’ll help them book their tickets for the next place they want to go.
Abbott announced a set of state-level “aggressive actions” this month, including busing, that he planned to take in response to the Biden administration’s upcoming termination of Title 42, a critical protection that has allowed U.S. authorities to quickly send illegal migrants back to Mexico in the name of public health.
In a letter about the busing announcement, Abbott observed that the Biden administration projected the end of Title 42 — which is anticipated to occur on May 23 — could cause illegal migrant encounters to increase to 18,000 per day.
Abbott wrote that the administration “has no real plan for addressing this unprecedented surge of illegal aliens but may resort to releasing groups of them in Texas communities whose resources are already overwhelmed.”
The governor added, “Texans cannot continue to shoulder the burdens imposed by open-border advocates in other parts of the country.”