Pope Francis called on President Donald Trump to rethink his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, arguing that terminating the program was not pro-life.
Francis made the comments Monday to reporters during his return flight from Columbia, according to Christian Today. Though Francis admitted that he had not researched the issue, he argued that separating children from their families was detrimental to their well-being and therefore was not pro-life, according to Religion News Service. Francis said that he hoped Trump would alter his approach to DACA, given his understanding that Trump presents himself as an ally of the pro-life movement.
“If he is a good pro-life believer he must understand that family is the cradle of life and one must defend its unity,” Francis told reporters.
“I hope they rethink it a bit,” Francis added. “Because I heard the U.S. president speak: He presents himself as a person who is pro-life.”
DACA allows children brought over by illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S., work, and receive tax-funded education. The program currently protects nearly 800,000 illegal immigrants.
Francis argued that separating children from their families “isn’t something that bears fruit for either the youngsters or their families.”
The pope’s call for a reversal of Trump’s DACA decision came days after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an official statement in which they denounced the decision in stronger terms.
“The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible,” the statement read. “It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home.”
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