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(CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)(CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

ROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis called on the people of the United States to welcome migrants and urged those who are welcomed to respect the laws of the country.

"To all people (of the U.S.) I ask: take care of the migrant who is a promise of life for the future. To migrants: take care of the country that welcomes you; accept and respect its laws and walk together along that path of love," the pope said Oct. 26 during a live video conversation with teenagers from around the world.

Pope Francis was speaking with teens participating in a program of the international network of "Scholas Occurrentes."

At the event, broadcast by the U.S. Spanish-language network Telemundo, the host asked the pope for a message to immigrants in the United States.

Pope Francis to migrants: "Take care of the country that welcomes you; accept and respect its laws and walk together along that path of love."

Many face difficulties after the Trump administration's recent call to tighten immigration laws, by raising the standard of proof for asylum seekers and limiting family members of current immigrants who can enter the country.

Other proposals include: constructing a wall on the southern border; cracking down on the entry of young Central Americans; criminalizing the overstay of a visa as a misdemeanor; and restricting federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities.

Pope Francis said the U.S. bishops "have told me about what you suffer" and is aware that "there are people that do not want you."

"I am a son of immigrants. And if there weren't people who helped my father when he arrived at 22 years old, I would not be here today," the pope said.

The call to welcome the migrant and the stranger, he added, is not a personal request he made as pope but a mandate given "by someone much more important than myself."

"God said it and the Bible is clear," the pope said. "Receive the migrant, receive the refugee, because you too were a migrant and refugee from Egypt. Jesus was also a refugee; they wanted to cut the little child's head off."

Pope Francis: "I am a son of immigrants. And if there weren't people who helped my father when he arrived at 22 years old, I would not be here today."

While video chatting with students from Houston, the pope also was asked by the host of the event if he had a message for immigrant youths in the United States known as "Dreamers."

Approximately 800,000 young men and women who have benefited from the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, are at risk of losing their legal status.

President Donald Trump has said that in any bill to legalize DACA, Congress must include funding for a U.S-Mexico border wall and more Border Patrol agents -- as laid out in his policy proposals -- or he won't sign such a measure.

The pope told the Dreamers, "The first thing I want to say is that I'm praying for you and I am close to you. Secondly, continue dreaming. And lastly, be close to people who can help you and defend you at this juncture. Do not hate anyone; look for help from those who can defend you. I am praying for you."

Pope Francis to Dreamers: "Be close to people who can help you and defend you at this juncture. Do not hate anyone"

Pope Francis also urged Europeans to welcome migrants and refugees who arrive on the continent seeking a better life, and he reminded Europeans that they are also "mestizos" ("mixed race") from "the great migrations of the barbarians and the Vikings."

"This isn't the time to pretend this is sterilized laboratory," the pope said. "This is the moment to receive, to embrace and -- to those who arrive -- to respect the rules of the country that welcomes you."

"To the migrants who suffer," the pope added, "know that the pope is very close to you. I accompany you and I am praying for you."

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Don Honda
4 years 6 months ago

Right from the top! Still conflating Legal Immigrants with Illegal Aliens. Continue to do so and the arguments stays polarized.

Is this what to expect from DREAMers?:


Ruben Navarrette: One Dreamer’s missed lesson in good character

And just who is the typical DREAMer?

Don't buy into all of that rosy PR about DACA

Jerome Kiley
4 years 6 months ago

Have you ever actually met and had conversation with any of the people you publicly write about? Without that, it is bearing false witness, one of the most grave sins, and the one that eventually put Jesus to death.

Christopher Lochner
4 years 6 months ago

Waiting for the news concerning open borders at Vatican City. Oh, wait, typical hypocrisy, shouldn't hold my breath. What's that saying? Do as I say not as I do. Hypocrisy also is sinful, no? Francis, you there?

Tim Donovan
4 years 6 months ago

With respect, if I remember correctly, Pope Francis has welcomed some Muslim immigrants to Vatican City, and has encouraged Catholic parishes in Italy and other nations to also support immigrants. I think it's especially commendable and shows an ecumenical spirit for the Pope to welcome Muslims among people of other faiths.

E.Patrick Mosman
4 years 6 months ago

"for the Pope to welcome Muslims " doesn't deserve praise as it begs the issue of the internecine Islamic sects centuries

old feud leading to violent Islamic terrorists who are killing, beheading, enslaving, other Muslims,Christians, Catholics and other non-Muslim religious. The Koran lays out in detail the goal of Islam, to convert the world and kill the non-believers.
There wil be great celebrations in Mecca when Saint Peters and the other grand Catholic Cathedrals and Churches become mosques.

Don Honda
4 years 6 months ago

Hmmm. Talk about confusing issues... To put it simply, yes I have met several DACAs as I live in a "Sanctuary City". It seems you're afraid of viewpoints other than your narrow strictly religious and specious one. Remember: Matthew 22:21 Jesus said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." Romans 13:1 "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God." I thought it was God's divine plan for Jesus to die and rise up?

And, a Thank You to Christopher Lochner for your very good point.

Tim Donovan
4 years 6 months ago

I certainly agree that it is preferable for immigrants to enter our nation. However, I agree Pope Francis ' reference that we should have a welcoming attitude towards immigrants, as in Exodus (22:20) God said, "You shall not molest or oopress.an alien, as you were once aliens in the land of Egypt." Each one of us (with the exception of a very small number of Native Americans) had ancestors who were immigrants to what is now the United States. I might add that in a real sense those people who came to America were "illegal" immigrants, as they weren't invited by the Native Americans to come to their homeland. In addition, although early (and later) people who arrived to America often, perhaps usually made treaties to acquire land, they frequently broke them and simply seized more land. I worked for about 25 years with disabled children and adults (some of whom I befriended) as a Special Education teacher (now retired) and in other capacities. At one point I worked in a group home with several disabled men. Several of my co-workers were immigrants from Liberia, who fled to our nation to escape a brutal civil war in the 1990's. They had entered our nation legally, but frankly, as they were fleeing from a violent homeland, even if they had entered the United States illegally I would have welcomed them and felt their actions were justified.

E.Patrick Mosman
4 years 6 months ago

Pope Francis is totally misinformed either through a failure to study and understand the situations in the Middle East, Africa and the Americas or to rely on the leftist advisers when he offers advice to President Trump on the refugee problem.
The Pope should be emphasizing that these refugees from the Middle East and Africa are fleeing from the internecine religious Sunni vs Shia warfare and homicidal Muslim hordes labeled,ISIS, Boko Haram, et al targeting non-muslims, in particular Christians, that are devastating their homelands. The refugees from Mexico, Cuba and Central/South America are fleeing corrupt politicians/government officials and vicious drug lords. And where do these homeless want to go? They are heading to those countries whose socio-economic systems the Pope condemns as "bad, unjust" and even worse. The Pope should be lecturing the leaders of those countries to improve conditions so that their citizens do not have to leave instead of calling out those countries that must absorb them. He is truly preaching a false economic message to go with his false non-science based musings on climate change.

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