US President Donald Trump should allow young immigrants to stay in the United States if he is truly “pro-life,” Pope Francis says.
“I have heard it said that the president of the United States presents himself as a man who is pro-life, and if he is a good pro-life [man], then he will understand that the family is the cradle of life and that it must be defended as a unit,” he said aboard a plane leaving Colombia on Monday.
Trump has said that his administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that offers protection to young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.
He has ordered a phased-out dismantling of DACA that gives a gridlocked Congress six months to decide the fate of these immigrants.
The DACA program allowed nearly 800,000 young men and women, often called "dreamers", who had entered the country as illegal immigrants, to stay in the US.
Concluding his five-day trip to his native South America, Francis said he has “hope that it can be rethought a little.”
‘Ask scientists; they’re precise!’
The pope further commented on climate change, whose impact is being felt partly in Texas and Florida these days, with hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaking havoc.
Francis warned about lack of action on climate change, asserting that, “These aren't opinions pulled out of thin air. They are very clear.”
He further urged all climate change deniers to seek the truth by referring to science.
"Whoever denies it has to go to the scientists and ask them," he said. "They speak very clearly; scientists are precise… Then they decide, and history will judge those decisions.”
‘Millions sold as slaves’
Francis emphasized earlier that the Catholic Church should play a role in helping immigrants and the victims of human trafficking.
The pope said Saint Peter Claver, whose church he was visiting in Cartagena, serves as an example of how the church should “promote the dignity of all our brothers and sisters, particularly the poor and the excluded of society, those who are abandoned, immigrants and those who suffer violence and human trafficking.”
“Here in Colombia and in the world, millions of people are still being sold as slaves; they either beg for some expressions of humanity, moments of tenderness, or they flee by sea or land because they have lost everything, primarily their dignity and their rights,” he added.
The comments were made less than two weeks after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Trump had decided to end DACA.
Last year, the pope lashed out at Trump, saying he is “not Christian” if he wants to build a wall on the US border with Mexico.
The US president responded by calling Francis’s comments “disgraceful.”
The Republican president has vowed to crack down on immigration but has failed to get his complete agenda through so far.