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Pope Francis Calls For Immigration Reform

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Pope Francis Calls For Immigration Reform

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Pope Francis has spoken out on this issue many times before. Last month during a trip to France, he said the “fanaticism of indifference” that greets migrants seeking a better life is a problem in Europe.

At Odds With Europe’s Right-Wing Politicians

The pope’s message puts him on the opposite side of the political spectrum with many right-wing governments who favor closing borders and deporting those seeking political asylum.

Last month, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni vowed to take “extraordinary measures” to deal with migrants — including calling anew for a naval blockade of North Africa to stem the flow — after more than 6,000 people arrived within a single day on the tiny island of Lampedusa from Tunisia.

“Obviously, Italy and Europe cannot welcome this massive influx of people, especially when these migrant flows are being managed by unscrupulous traffickers,” she said.

Just as an influx of migrants from Africa continue to reach European shores by boat, Pope Francis’ 30-minute vigil did not mention Italy or any other specific nation where immigration was becoming a thorny political issue.

The migrant crisis is not limited to any one part of the world. Many are leaving Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, Central Americans are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and, most recently, Gaza residents are trying to go to neighboring Egypt after the Hamas attack on Israel led the Jewish state to retaliate.

In 2013, Francis famously visited Lampedusa — closer to the shores of North African than Italy — where many refugees make landfall. Many have drowned making the dangerous crossing. Over 14,000 people have died or gone missing while making the crossing between Libya and Tunisia to Italy since 2014, according to the U.N.-based International Organization for Migration.

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty of our world, of our own hearts, and of all those who in anonymity make social and economic decisions which open the door to tragic situations like this,” he said at the time. “Has anyone wept? Today has anyone wept in our world?”

On the 10th anniversary of that visit this past July, the pope reaffirmed his commitment to the plight of migrants.

“Ten years have passed since the visit I wanted to carry out to the communities of Lampedusa in order to show my support and fatherly closeness to those who have arrived on your shores after painful vicissitudes, at the mercy of the sea,” he said.



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