Pope’s Strong Support for Immigrants in US

Pope’s Strong Support for Immigrants in USPope’s Strong Support for Immigrants in US

Pope Francis has offered stout words of support to Hispanic and other immigrants in the US, telling them not to be discouraged at a time when some prominent politicians are directing hostility toward them.

“Do not be discouraged by whatever challenges and hardships you face,” the pope told the many Hispanics and other recent immigrants in the crowd on Saturday, adding that he felt “particular affection” toward them, Al Jazeera reported.

During his first visit to the US, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on Thursday urged Americans in a historic speech to Congress to reject “a mindset of hostility” toward immigrants. The pope said immigrants “bring many gifts” to their new nation.

  Harsh Rhetoric

Harsh rhetoric toward “illegal” immigrants has featured heavily in the race for the Republican nomination for the November 2016 US presidential election.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has called for deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants, most of whom are from Latin America like the pope, and has accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals across the border.

He and many other Republicans also are calling for the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told the crowd before the pope’s speech” “We are all immigrants. Whether we arrived 10 generations ago or 10 minutes ago, we cannot let the xenophobia and racism of some to carry the day.”

The pope spoke from the lectern used by President Abraham Lincoln for his famed 1863 Gettysburg Address after the bloodiest battle of the US Civil War that declared that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”