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Pope sides with US bishops in response to family separation policy at the border

pope francis border
© YURI CORTEZ / AFP
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US bishops have called the practice "immoral" and say children separated from their parents are "exposed to irreparable harm and trauma"

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said he is “on the side” of the US bishops’ conference in their response to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the border with Mexico, which has led to children being separated from their parents.

While DiNardo speaks on behalf of the body of the US bishops, a slew of individual bishops have echoed his condemnation of the practice.

Bishops who have dioceses on the border with Mexico have been especially outspoken

“Refugee children belong to their parents, not to the government or other institution,” tweeted San Antonio’s Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller. “To steal children from their parents is a grave sin, immoral (and) evil.”

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan took particular issue with the Attorney General’s use of the Bible to try to justify the practice.

“For one, St. Paul always says we should obey the law of the government if that law is in conformity with the Lord’s law, all right?” he said on CNN. “No pun intended but God’s law trumps man’s law, all right?”

Change of mindset

Pope Francis has always been an advocate of migrants’ rights, though he has also acknowledged the complexity of the situations and the rights of governments to enact fair policies.

Above all, though, he insists that migrants are people too — with faces, names, and stories just like everyone else.

He says that a change of mindset is needed so that instead of seeing migrants as a threat, they might be seen as people who can bring values and experiences to enrich their host societies.

The interview with Reuters was extensive and covered a variety of topics; the news agency says it will be releasing pieces of it throughout the day.

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