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America’s Voice Staff Reflects: Why We Need to Hear Pope Francis’s Pro-Immigrant Message

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 America’s Voice Will Be Covering the Pope’s Visit to the United States in Both English and Spanish

Follow Along @AmericasVoice, @TUSK81 and @MaribelHastings

America’s Voice will be covering the papal visit to the United States this week in both English and Spanish (see here for a full twitter list of key handles to follow).  Ahead of the visit, two members of the America’s Voice team have weighed in with personal reflections on the importance and context of Pope Francis’s visit, offering hope that his presence and message will provide a pro-immigrant alternative to the hostile climate predominating on the Republican campaign trail. 

In a column for PRI’s “The World,” cross-posted on the America’s Voice website, Gabe Ortiz reflects on “Why I’m Joining The 50,000 Latinos Greeting Pope Francis In Washington, DC,” writing: 

“…But what it really is, what really draws me and millions of other Latinos to him, is his message of compassion, dignity, and justice for immigrants, migrants, and refugees…  

…In blasting ‘the globalisation of indifference,’ Pope Francis lifts up our immigrant families when it feels like they’ve been all but discarded and forgotten by our legislators.  It’s why next week, I’ll be one of the estimated 50,000 Latinos trekking to Washington, D.C. for his historic visit and speech before a joint session of Congress. 

Many of us are making this journey because the Pope’s message is one we desperately long and need to hear right now.

 When the leading Republican candidate for President disgraces our political conversation with racist accusations that our immigrant family members are criminals and ‘rapists’ — and other Republican candidates who claim to be friends to the immigrant community join in — the Pope’s words are, as Rep. Luis Gutierrez recently said, an ‘antidote’ to the poison.

I’m looking forward to meeting the people who make up our American immigrant community.  As I write, 100 women are walking 100 miles — a pilgrimage from Pennsylvania to D.C. that is spanning the course of seven days — to greet Pope Francis with messages of dignity and compassion for immigrants and refugees …

… most of all, I hope the Pope’s message reaches those whose hearts have closed to the immigrant.  I hope it reaches those who have forgotten this country was built on the backs of and by the hands of immigrants.  I hope it reaches those who use the Bible to oppress their fellow American, yet forget the Bible also preaches to welcome the stranger, because we were once strangers, too.”

In Spanish, America’s Voice Senior Advisor Maribel Hastings strikes a similar theme in her weekly column.  As she notes, the Pope’s visit to Washington D.C. will highlight the divisions and tensions within a Republican controlled Congress that has refused to pass any meaningful reform to our nation’s broken immigration system. Many are hopeful that the Pope’s visit and remarks will help smooth over some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has bubbled up in recent months.  It’s available online here and excerpted in Spanish below (an English language translation will be available later today):

“Luego arribará a Estados Unidos en medio de un hervidero político-electoral donde las divisiones y el prejuicio son la orden del día.

Su primera de tres escalas en Estados Unidos será en Washington, DC, en la mismísima caldera del Diablo, un Congreso de mayoría republicana y totalmente dividido donde nada ha progresado, particularmente una reforma migratoria amplia que saque de las sombras a los millones de indocumentados que ven en el Papa a un defensor e intermediario que puede cambiar corazones. 

Ahí sí que se necesitaría un milagro, pero al menos muchos esperan que el Papa, de algún modo, ataje la atmósfera tan venenosa y prejuiciosa en que se ha tornado la interna republicana por la búsqueda de la nominación presidencial.”