Pope Criticizes Politicians for Stoking Racism Over Immigration

Pope Criticizes Politicians for Stoking Racism Over ImmigrationPope Criticizes Politicians for Stoking Racism Over Immigration

Pope Francis on Friday excoriated politicians who foment fear of migrants, saying they were sowing violence and racism, and urged them to “practice the virtue of prudence” to help them integrate.

The pope, who has made defense of migrants and refugees a major plank of his papacy, wrote in a massage that “Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and doing so demeans the human dignity," Reuters reported.  The message is being released as migration has become a top political issue in countries including the United States, Italy, Australia and Germany.

“Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great worry for all those concerned about the safety of every human being,” he said.

In elections in Germany in September, the far-right and anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party made significant gains, with electors punishing Chancellor Angela Merkel for her open-door policy and pushing migration policy to the top of the agenda in talks to form a coalition government.

Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League, whose leader Matteo Salvini often gives fiery speeches against migrants, is expected to make gains in national elections next year.

In the United States, President Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out, something the pope has criticized in the past.

Francis urged governments to make legal immigration easier but said that leaders should also recognize that many people move “mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity, and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow”.

He acknowledged that immigrants can sometimes “compound numerous existing problems” and that leaders have a “clear responsibility toward their own communities”; but practical ways had to be found to welcome newcomers, who can enrich society with their cultures, skills and energy.


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