Delivering a statement to the Mexico-Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development on Monday, Pope Francis addressed the thousands of migrant children flooding over the United States-Mexico border and urged the United States to protect them.
“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected,” said the Pope, according to a transcript of his message from Vatican news source News.va.
“Many people forced to emigrate suffer, and often, die tragically; many of their rights are violated, they are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes,” said Francis, speaking about emigration.
“I would also like to draw attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence,” Francis continued. “This is a category of migrants from Central America and Mexico itself who cross the border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain.”
Francis said that acts to protect these children will be inadequate unless “they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.” Francis added that “attention of the entire international community” is crucial “so that new forms of legal and secure migration may be adopted.”
Earlier this month, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration requested that the Obama Administration reassess their plans to expedite the removal of Central American migrant children. “This is a very vulnerable population which has been targeted by organized crime networks in Central America. To return them to these criminal elements without a proper adjudication of their cases is unconscionable,” Chairman Bishop Eusebio Elizondo said.