Pope Francis joined U.S. Catholic bishops in speaking out against the White House’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, which has led to the forced separation of families attempting to illegally cross the Mexican border.
“It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” Francis told Reuters, later adding that populists’ immigration policies were “creating psychosis.”
Francis also indicated that he agreed with statements made by members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who called the policy “immoral” and “contrary to our Catholic values.” Bishop Joe Vásquez, chairman of the group’s Committee on Migration, also sent letters on Monday urging U.S. representatives to create legislation that is “pro-family” and “respectful of human dignity.”
In his interview with Reuters, Francis said he is “on the side of the bishops’ conference” and “respect[s]” its position.
The pope also voiced his support for immigrants on Twitter Wednesday morning. “A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity,” he wrote.
The pope’s comments come after Attorney General Jeff Sessions used the Bible to defend the administration’s policy last week, citing a passage that emphasizes the importance of following laws “because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.” The rationale drew criticism from some members of Sessions’ own United Methodist Church, though it was backed by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.