In his historic first papal address to US Congress on Thursday September 22, Pope Francis urged the leaders of America to be more accepting of immigrants to the country. He praised the country’s role in the world as a place that has “inspired so many people to dream”, and invoked images of many American icons such as Martin Luther King Jr and Abraham Lincoln, but also said that lawmakers need to put aside their political differences for the people who travel to America in search of a better life. He believes that there is a “paralysis” in Congress preventing reform on not only immigration policies, but climate change and other issues as well, and it is their responsibility to help grow the nation, not let it stagnate.
The Pope’s address included indirect comments on the USA’s recent moves towards marriage equality and the country’s views on abortion, but he refrained from openly taking a stand against them. He did, however, clearly state his views on climate change, saying that the United States has an obligation to lead the charge on reform for other countries to follow suit.
“I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps, and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity,” he said. “I am convinced that we can make a difference – I’m sure. And I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies.”
While those at the address were generally more reserved than those who attend the President’s State of the Union speeches, when Pope Francis detailed his call to action there was a large round of standing applause and cheering from many Democratic Congress members.
The Pope’s sentiments on immigration precede a visit to a Catholic school in New York City, where he will meet with immigrants and refugees and have a close up look at the way inner-city Catholic education works in the United States.
His words are also relevant in light of recent numbers in the Catholic churches across America changing from white, American-born citizens to Spanish – and a lesser extent Vietnamese and other cultures – immigrants, numbers that have meant many churches in the Northeast have shut their doors while many in the Southern and Western parts of the country are overflowing with Latino members.
If you have any questions about immigration reform in the United States and how it might be relevant to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lyttle Law Firm. You can get in contact either via the website or by calling 215-512-5225.