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Wed, 16 Jul 2014 19:11:35 +0000
(ROME) -- Pope Francis has called on the U.S. government to do more to protect the thousands of migrant children crossing the Rio Grande.
In a letter read aloud to a conference in Mexico City Tuesday, the pope wrote that the unaccompanied children of undocumented migrants face "racist and xenophobic attitudes."
He called for these children to be welcomed and protected in the U.S. and for the government to develop policies that inform people of the dangers of the border crossing journey.
More needs to be done, Pope Francis said, to promote economic development in the home countries of the people fleeing poverty and violence.
Since October, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained by U.S. immigration agents. Most come from gang-controlled areas in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Since becoming leader of the Catholic church more than a year ago, Pope Francis has been an outspoken defender of migrants' rights around the world.
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