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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Francis affirms basic Christian principles, he is not singling out one person or nation, but he definitely is not excluding them either.
The ongoing global migration and refugee crisis is a case in point.
The United States is not the only country engaged in a heated political debate over immigration policy with often opposing voices focusing on: ensuring the country's security; regulating numbers based on the resources available to resettle them; or living up to an ethical obligation -- and often a legal one, according to international treaties -- to shelter people fleeing violence and persecution and to welcome those seeking a more dignified life for themselves and their families.
While the pope's remarks on welcoming migrants and refugees cannot be read as focused on the U.S. debate, one also cannot pretend they have nothing to do with it.
The new Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development "regularly informs the Holy Father about events that touch on the issue of migration, including the current debate underway in the United States of America," Scalabrinian Father Fabio Baggio, undersecretary of the office, told Catholic News Service Feb. 22.
Pope Francis, he said, supports the position expressed by the U.S. bishops, which emphasizes openness to newcomers and a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policy.