Pope Francis wants to visit the U.S.-Mexico border and is expressing concern for the fate of some 47,000 children in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol in facilities around the country.
The pope has been in consultations concerning possible destinations in northern Mexico, sources of the Holy See told the Mexican news agency Notimex
, and wants to see for himself the impact of illegal migration.
The border is a corridor for thousands of unaccompanied children to travel north from locations as far away as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, as well as from Mexico.
The pope, during a private meeting with Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto, said he wants to visit Mexico, but has not said when, reports Fox News Latino
There is some speculation Francis could include the border area in his scheduled trip to the United States in September 2015, and he does have sympathy for refugees, reports the Italian news network ANSA
Francis:Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.
Earlier this week, Francis made an appeal for governments and the public to ensure refugees around the world are received with dignity, telling his general audience that "Jesus was [a] refugee" who "had to flee to save his life. He went to Egypt with Joseph and Mary."
Like the United States, Italy is also facing an increase in the number of migrants crossing over from North Africa every year. So far, more than 50,000 migrants have come into Italy from North Africa, with many dying in boat accidents on the way, ANSA reports.
And in September on World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said host countries should change their attitudes about immigrants, reports Fox.
"Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity," he said. "They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more."
In addition to a papal visit, Holy See Secretary of State Pietro Parolin is also planning a visit to Mexico, Fox News reports.
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