While conducting research into organizations receiving funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the Lepanto Institute discovered that several Catholic institutions are members of a coalition called Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF). At issue is the fact that PIF that has taken a formal stance to defend abortion as a “right.” The discovery was made while investigating the grantee, “Casa San Jose,” which received $75,000 from the CCHD for the 2020-2021 grants cycle. Other CCHD grantees found in PIF’s membership list include WeCount! and Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), as well as several bad coalitions of which CCHD grantees are members, like Jobs with Justice, UnidosUS, and the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA).
According to PIF’s membership list, Catholic members of the coalition include the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC), and several diocesan Catholic Charities.
PIF’s website states that it was formed in 2017 “to combat the racist and exclusionary Trump-era public charge policy and other harmful actions by the Trump administration.” PIF’s main focus is lifting the five year waiting period (passed in 1996) on federal assistance programs that legal immigrants face. PIF is also working to expand “access to Affordable Care Act marketplaces for a wider range of immigrants.”
PIF has over 500 coalition members. While there are no dues payments, all member organizations are required to adhere to a set of 10 principles. Principle 4 indicates that individual organizations are free to sign onto or opt out of PIF policy positions, stating that:
“Individual organizations will be invited to take positions on policy, legislation and public statements. Each organization can sign on and lend their name, or opt out to PIF statements on positions.”
However, Principle 6 requires member organizations to remain silent about coalition positions or actions, saying:
“6. Active members will raise their disagreement openly within the confidentiality of the Coalition, be transparent about divergent strategies, and take no action that directly undermines or sabotages the Coalition.”
Such a rule places all Catholic members in the untenable position of potentially participating in the sin of others by way of remaining silent while observing an evil being committed.
And as it happens, PIF took an explicit and public pro-abortion stance following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned Roe v Wade.
On June 27, 2022, PIF released the following statement, speaking as a coalition:
Statement on the reversal of Roe v Wade & Planned Parenthood v. Casey
While we have known since early May that this ruling was coming, we are deeply disheartened by the impact this decision will have on poor working people, in particular immigrants and people of color.
As some members of the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition warned in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on the Dobbs case, the burden of such a decision will fall disproportionately hard on low-income immigrants of color, who already face language, economic, and immigration status barriers to reproductive health care. Experts anticipate that within one year of this opinion, twenty-six states will have completely banned or severely restricted abortion access, impacting over 40 million people of reproductive age. Most of these states are in the Deep South and Midwest, where immigrants already face innumerable barriers to healthcare – from the heightened chilling effect of public charge to legal restrictions.
We stand firmly with our partners, abortion funds and providers, and organizations fighting for reproductive health access and justice. We believe that everyone should have the right to methods of abortion that they determine to be best for themselves. We believe that protecting immigrants’ access to public benefit programs, healthcare, and economic justice is as essential as ensuring that the right to choose continues to be central in the access to reproductive rights.
We urge Congress to continue the effort to codify the constitutional right to abortion and bodily autonomy. We urge states to protect the right to abortion in their own constitutions. We urge you to not give up the mission of defending access to health care, nutrition programs, public services, and economic support for everyone – regardless of immigration status. [emphasis added]
Here is a screenshot of PIF’s statement:
With a statement like this, there is no way any Catholic institution can remain a member of Protecting Immigrant Families or quietly remove themselves from membership without participating in the grave crime against innocent blood committed by PIF. As such, we are calling on the USCCB, CLINIC and all Catholic Charity partners to publicly and completely sever their relationship with this coalition. According to PIF’s Principle 4, member organizations are given a chance to sign onto or opt out of public statements prior to the statement having been made, so it is difficult to see how the various Catholic organizations would have been unaware that PIF was about to make this public statement on abortion ahead of time. That having been said, it is possible that the USCCB, CLINIC, and the Diocesan Catholic Charities listed below were unaware of the pending statement, and remained ignorant of it having been made until the publication of this report. As such, we are not accusing the Catholic members of PIF of any deliberate wrongdoing, but it is impossible to see how these Catholic organizations can avoid formal complicity in PIF’s moral crime and scandalizing the faithful without publicly rebuking PIF while permanently renouncing membership.
In 2010, the USCCB publicly withdrew from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights because of its public support for abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
The following Catholic entities are listed as members of PIF:
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC)
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa
- Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque
- Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet
- Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico
- Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland