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Pope Francis tells Dreamers: Be close to those who can help and defend you

Pope Francis shakes hands with young people after a papal audience at St Peter's square on March 27, 2013 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS
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Speaks via video link to youth in Houston

Pope Francis on Thursday expressed his support for young immigrants in the United States, encouraging them not to hate anyone.

According to a statement from the Holy See press office, Pope Francis on Thursday visited the offices of the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, which were established last June at Palazzo Saint Calixtus in Rome.

During the course of the visit, the pope spoke via video conference with young people in difficult situations from North and South America: notably, from Mexico, as well as Paraguay, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Texas.

The pope conversed with young people in Houston, Texas, who asked him to send a message to Dreamers.

“Be close to those who can help you and defend you in this situation,” he said. “Don’t hate anyone,” and “continue to dream,” he encouraged them, before assuring them of his prayers.

The status of Dreamers was put into question after President Donald Trump announced in September the end of the assistance program which benefited them. Through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, adopted during the presidency of Barack Obama, 800,000 young undocumented immigrants were granted immunity against deportation to their home country.

The pontiff then referred to the need to welcome migrants, in both the Old World and the New.

“I ask all people to help migrants, because they are the promise of life for the future,” said the pope, according to Vatican Radio in Italian. However, the pope also asked the migrants to “take care of” the people who welcome them, by respecting their laws.

The Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, which is under the aegis of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, was founded in Argentina in 2013 with the support of then-Cardinal Bergoglio. It aims to create a link among schools around the world and to help promote education, and to welcome those excluded from school systems. It has received the support of celebrities from the realms of sports and entertainment. So far, it has implemented citizen projects in 446,133 schools, spread throughout 190 countries.

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