CHARLESTON, S.C. — Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore], responding to Pope Francis’ recent assertion that building walls is not Christian, says that the U.S. is “more compassionate on immigration” than any other nation and the government has a sovereign right to control the borders.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Pope Francis said Wednesday in reference to Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s immigration policy. (RELATED: Pope Francis Questions Trump’s Christianity, Trump Fights Back [VIDEO])
Rubio, during a press conference in Anderson, explained that the U.S. accepts more immigrants than any other nation yet still maintains the right to control its borders.
“The Holy Father’s full statement and the context of it, before I comment fully, I would just say this: there’s no nation on Earth that’s more compassionate on immigration than we are,” Rubio said. “We accept a million people a year in the United States legally, every year. Mexico doesn’t do that. No other country in the world does that, but we’re a sovereign country and we have the right to control who comes in, when they come in, and how they come in.”
“This country has not just a right but an obligation to control the process by which people enter the United States, and by which people immigrate to the United States,” he added.
Trump responded to the Pope in a statement, calling his comments “disgraceful.”
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” Trump said. “I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.”
When asked by a reporter about Trump’s response to the Pope, Rubio said, “As a Roman Catholic, he’s a head of the church, he’s the successor of Peter is what I believe, and I have tremendous respect and admiration for him. I haven’t seen the statement, but I’m an elected official of the United States of America and the federal government, and our number one obligation is to keep people safe and our immigration system is a part of that.”