Posted on July 3, 2024

Catholic Charities Immigrant Aid Compelled Landry to Cut State Money for Its Homeless Shelter

Julie O'Donoghue, Louisiana Illuminator, June 26, 2024

Gov. Jeff Landry cut $1 million in state funding from the largest homeless shelter in Lafayette because of the help its operator, Catholic Charities of Acadiana, provides to immigrants.

“Part of Catholic Charities mission is to support the influx of illegal aliens into our country. Taxpayers should never foot the bill for nonprofits who are contributing to the illegal immigration crisis our nation is facing,” Landry said in a written statement Wednesday. “I don’t believe the majority of our legislators would support this either.”


Since Landry took office in January, he has made fighting illegal immigration a priority, even though states generally have to concede enforcement to the federal government.

One of his first acts as governor was to require the state to track and collect data on immigrants. Landry then spent $3 million to send 150 Louisiana National Guard members to Texas to help monitor the Mexico border.

His efforts to hold a local Catholic Charities chapter responsible for the church’s long-held views on immigration is in keeping with national conservatives.

Republicans in Congress threatened to pull federal funding from Catholic Charities last year over the nonprofit’s aid to immigrants at the Mexico border. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, announced an investigation into a Catholic organization assisting migrant workers in El Paso last winter.


Locally, Catholic Charities of Acadiana offers legal services to immigrants, including help with seeking citizenship, protected status and work authorization. The group also works with people who qualify for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which prevents deportation of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.


The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents the church and charity organizations statewide, has clashed with Landry on other immigration policies.

The bishops opposed two new laws Landry backed. The first empowers local law enforcement officials to arrest people they suspect of entering the country illegally. The second is a so-called anti-sanctuary city provision, meant to force cities, such as New Orleans, to police immigrants aggressively if they are undocumented.