Pope Francis is becoming the voice of compassion for the world’s refugees

Source: Vox

Pope Francis leveraged his position to bring awareness to environmental issues. Now he’s doing the same for the migrant crisis.

Pope Francis meets with migrants in Greece in April 2016.
 Photo by Andrea Bonetti/Greek Prime Minister’s Office via Getty Images

The debate over the migrant crisis has a new voice: Pope Francis.

Monday the Vatican released a comprehensive policy document urging countries around the world to ban “arbitrary and collective expulsions” of refugees or migrants, and to expand the number of “safe and legal pathways” for migration.

The policy document, “Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points,” was released by the Vatican’s section on Migrants and Refugees, a small department within the Vatican that Francis directly oversees. The document comes in anticipation of talks on immigration and migration at the United Nations scheduled for next year.

The memo also highlighted the importance of social and economic justice for those who have already migrated, including guaranteeing equal access to education for children. It also calls to prohibit “exploitation, forced labor, or trafficking” and guaranteeing the rights of undocumented workers who need to report abusive employers. Such stipulations reflect Francis’s well documented concern for workers’ issues more broadly.

Francis delivered a message with the document’s release last week. “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ,” the pope said. “This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience — from departure through journey to arrival and return.”

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