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Pope Francis Sends Strong Message on Immigration During US Visit

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U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pope Francis (R) during their meeting at the Vatican March 27, 2014. Obama's first meeting on Thursday with Pope Francis was expected to focus on the fight against poverty and skirt moral controversies over abortion and gay rights.

Pope Francis arrived in Washington D.C. last Tuesday September 22 for his first official visit as a pontiff.  The Pope gave a speech at the White House welcoming ceremony and he later addressed the US Congress.  His speeches were loaded with strong messages on the matter of immigration, in relation to both US immigration issues and the European refugee crisis.  During his six-day visit he is also expected to give a special blessing to a group of undocumented immigrants in New York City.

The pope began his brief speech at the White House by saying that “[a]s the son of an immigrant family, [he was] happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.”  At the canonization mass he held at the National Shrine, he reaffirmed his concern on immigration issues yet again.  He finalized the sermon by inviting the American people “[not to] be afraid to welcome [the migrants].”  He ensured that “as so often in the past, these people will enrich America and its church.”
On Thursday 24, Pope Francis addressed the US Congress, where he insisted on his message of compassion towards migrants and refugees.  He reminded US lawmakers that “millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom.  We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.  I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. [For them], I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation.”

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