As lawmakers and immigration activists prepare for Pope Francis' visit to the United States, Roll Call reports that they expect his arrival and message to inspire members of Congress and their constituents to revamp immigration laws.
According to Roll Call
, since becoming the head of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013, Pope Francis has been a vast critic of immigration policies in the United States. The pontiff even called the Central American children crossing the U.S. a "humanitarian emergency."
"He’s been clear on our failure to respond appropriately to immigrants and refugees," said Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat. "I don’t think anyone will have any doubt on where the church stands on immigration after the Pope visits the United States."
While it's the first time a Pope has visited the Capitol building, McGovern says he is hoping the Pontiff's message will shake up colleagues who have been opposed to revamping immigration laws.
"It may move some, it may not move others," McGovern said. "But I hope it makes those who have been obstructionist feel uncomfortable."
The Pope comes to the Capitol on Sept. 24 and will appear on the West front balcony to greet the public, something that Speaker John Boehner has been trying to arrange with the last three Popes, Roll Call says.
With his teachings on climate change, social justice , immigration and his opposition to abortion, both Democrats and Republicans are looking forward
to Pope Francis' visit — but bracing for it, too.
"While we cannot predict his remarks, we expect he’ll discuss issues that are important to Americans from all walks of life and on both sides of the aisle," said Boehner spokeswoman Emily Schillinger.
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