FIRM Statement on Pope Francis Address to Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 24, 2015CONTACT: Carlos Vogel, (202) 239-2133,

(WASHINGTON)--The following statement is from Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) in response to the Pope’s speech to the joint session of Congress today.

“Today, leaders of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) praised Pope Francis for urging Congress to embrace the country’s history of welcoming everyone to the U.S. and providing safe haven for immigrants. His message of approaching and treating all immigrants and refugees with humanity, respect, compassion, empathy, dignity, and love echoed the hopes of our FIRM leaders participating in 24-hours of prayer, reflection and action advocating for immigration reform across the country.

“The Pope’s speech to Congress comes at a critical time when millions of Syrian refugees are seeking protection and a growing number of families and children are fleeing gang violence, rape, and domestic violence in Central America. A change of attitude toward migrants and refugees is desperately needed on the part of everyone. We need to move away from the divisive rhetoric by politicians who are using hateful speech when they talk about immigrants. We must reject the politics of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization.

“We stand with the Pope in the call for humanity and cooperation in such a way to make the conditions of immigrants more humane. This includes an end to unjust deportations and detention and the recognition of our humanity by way of comprehensive immigration reform that provides a clear path to citizenship and family unity.

“We hope that the historic encounter between Pope Francis and the Congress will lead to the beginning of an honest and constructive debate of how to fix this broken immigration system in a way that is consistent with the moral principles to treat immigrants with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”


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