Pope Francis responds to Trump administration’s decision to end DACA

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President Trump and first lady Melania meet Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican. Reuters/Evan Vucci/Pool

Pope Francis appeared to have doubted US President Donald Trump being "pro-life" after the latter's decision to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The pontiff said he was concerned by the possibility of young immigrants being forced to move away from their families.

The pope had responded to a question about the Trump administration’s latest move. "If he is a good pro-life [man], then he will understand that the family is the cradle of life, and that it must be defended as a unit,” the pope said aboard the papal plane, the National Catholic Reporter reports.

Francis said he is interested in looking more thoroughly into the American policy, admitting that he had not studied the specifics of DACA. But he maintained that “removing young people from their families is not a thing that bears good fruit, neither for the young person nor the family.”

The pontiff argued that today’s young people need to re-find their roots. He believes going against this robs them of hope.

He also expressed interest in Congress extending what has been ended, saying he has "hope that it can be rethought a little.” DACA allowed immigrants brought to the US as children to live and work or study in the country. Trump directed Congress to plan a legislative solution that would “work out very well” for the DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers.”

It is not the first time Pope Francis made a political comment while giving news conferences on his flights. During the 2016 election campaign, he said Trump's planned wall on the Mexican border was "not Christian.”

The pope had also talked about climate change on board a plane leaving Colombia. He said that those who doubt that the climate is changing must listen to scientists, and that political leaders have a “moral responsibility” to cut carbon emissions to prevent climate change.

Francis and Trump met at the Vatican in May. He pushed the issue of climate change during his meeting with the US leader by handing Trump a copy of his science-laden encyclical about the moral responsibility to protect the environment.

When asked why political leaders have not done more to reduce carbon emissions so far, Francis paraphrased a passage from the Old Testament. “A stubborn [animal] that does not see,” the pope reportedly said.

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