Pope Francis denounces attempts to close southern border as ‘madness’

Pope Francis denounced efforts to limit migration at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday, calling out a Texas effort to shut down a Catholic charity “madness.”

The Catholic leader said in a “60 Minutes” interview with Norah O’Donnell that American leaders should instead embrace forgiveness toward migrants entering the country.

“Migration is something that makes a country grow,” he said. “They say that you Irish migrated and brought the whiskey, and that the Italians migrated and brought the mafia. Migrants sometimes suffer a lot. They suffer a lot.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) in February attempted to subpoena Annunciation House, a Catholic charity that acts as a temporary boarding house for migrants from Mexico. He accused the group of “alien harboring, human smuggling, and operating a stash house.”

“That is madness. Sheer madness,” Francis said. “To close the border and leave them there, that is madness.”

“The migrant has to be received,” he continued, advocating against GOP efforts to close the southern border. “Thereafter, you see how you are going to deal with him. Maybe you have to send him back, I don’t know, but each case ought to be considered humanely.”

A Texas judge blocked Paxton’s subpoena against Annunciation House in March, though his office filed a similar complaint against the charity again Friday.

The Pope’s comments come as Congress is again at a standstill over discussions on border reform. After a previously negotiated bipartisan deal fell apart in February, few attempts have been made to start negotiations again on an issue that Republicans have dubbed a “crisis.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has considered reintroducing the bipartisan deal in recent days, but it has received pushback from immigration advocacy groups.

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