The first pope from the Americas called on U.S. lawmakers to open their hearts to new generations of immigrants in a historic address to Congress that urged them to reject a rising xenophobic tendency in politics.
His passionate call for “as many young people as possible [to] inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream” comes amid a fierce national debate over how to handle an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
“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.”
“In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom.”
“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners,” added Pope Francis, who was born in Argentina to Italian parents. “I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants.”
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