In a truly historic visit, Pope Francis stepped foot on American soil for the first time this September. He was greeted by President Obama and the entire first family, as well as thousands of excited supporters. With a beaming smile on his face, the happy Pope had finally arrived in Washington D.C. for a much anticipated tour of the Northeast.
And on Thursday, September 24, the Pope delivered a speech before both houses of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and presidential candidates. And to the delight of Democrats, the happy Pope made a sweeping defense of the need to protect and embrace immigrants.
Right now, the U.S. congress is the most divided, and unpopular, as at any time in its history. After aborted attempts to pass federal immigration law reform, the chamber has reached a stalemate with the White House. Even with the 2016 presidential election more than a year away, refugee matters and new immigration laws are a major focus of the nomination race in both parties.
Despite the famous D.C. gridlock, the Pope had a rare chance to speak directly to the politicians with the power to help change United States immigration laws. The Pope definitely took advantage of the podium, offering an implicit endorsement of progressive views on immigration laws.
In a soft, heavily accented voice, he said:
?We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants…We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.”
So what effect will the remarks have on the U.S. political climate? That remains to be seen, but most Americans are extremely skeptical that Congress is capable of accomplishing anything. Will the Pope spur lawmakers to tackle federal immigration law, one of the most controversial topics in the country?
It might take a miracle…