Pope condemns separation of immigrant families

Pope Francis (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis said he stands with the United States bishops who have condemned a policy on immigration that has led to children being separated from their parents. Source: CNS.

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” Pope Francis said in an interview with the Reuters news agency, published online yesterday. “Let it be clear that in these things, I respect (the position of) the bishops’ conference.”

Overnight, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the US border illegally, News.com.au reports.

“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” said Mr Trump who said he didn’t like the “sight” or “feeling” of children separated from their parents.

He said his order would not end the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally. The order aims to keep families together while they are in custody, expedite their cases, and ask the Department of Defence to help house families.

Last week, US Conference of Catholic Bishops president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo read a statement on behalf of the bishops denouncing the government’s zero-tolerance policy.

“Families are the foundational element of our society, and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral,” the statement said.

The political rise of populist movements in both the US and in Europe has led to a severe crackdown on men, women and children trying to escape war, violence, poverty and persecution.

In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini banned the NGO rescue ship Aquarius, with more than 600 migrants aboard, to dock and has vowed to stop any foreign boats carrying rescued migrants into the country.

Pope Francis said the current wave of populist rhetoric against migrants was “creating psychosis” and that people seeking a better life should not be rejected.

Europe, he added, is facing a “great demographic winter” and, without immigration, the continent “will become empty.”

“Some governments are working on it, and people have to be settled in the best possible way, but creating psychosis is not the cure,” he said. “Populism does not resolve things. What resolves things is acceptance, study, prudence.”

FULL STORY

Pope supports U.S. bishops’ criticism of ‘immoral’ immigration policy (CNS)

Donald Trump signs order to stop immigrant families from being separated at the US border (News.com.au)

RELATED COVERAGE

Francis backs US bishops: Policy of separating migrant children is 'immoral' (NCR Online

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