Pope tells Congress US should reject hostility to immigrants

2015-09-24 17:08
Pope Francis addresses Congress. (AP)

Pope Francis addresses Congress. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Pope Francis told Congress on Thursday that the United States should reject hostility to immigrants and treat them humanely, directly addressing a thorny subject that is dividing the country and stirring debate in the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the first speech by a pope to a US Congress, the Argentine pontiff said the United States "must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past", when dealing with immigrants.

"Building a nation calls us to recognise that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility," the 78-year-old Francis told the Republican-dominated legislature.

Aversion to illegal immigrants has featured heavily in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Front-runner Donald Trump says he would deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants if he were elected to the White House and has accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals across the border.

Speaking in English to lawmakers and other dignitaries packed into the House of Representatives, Francis said America should not be put off by the number of immigrants who are trying to make it their home.

"We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal," he said.

The pope described himself the "the son of immigrants" from Italy who settled in Argentina last century.

Several Republican presidential candidates were in the audience, including Ben Carson who caused controversy this week by saying a Muslim should not be US president.

Francis addressed Congress the day after he raised other political issues such as climate change and inequality in a speech at the White House on Wednesday, the first full day of his six-day trip to the United States.

Read more on:    pope francis  |  us  |  vatican city  |  us elections 2016

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.