Pope Francis has criticized Donald Trump's decision to end a program that offers protection for childhood immigrants into the United States. According to the Holy Father, a politician who genuinely supports pro-life policies would not separate children from their families and has urged the Republican to reconsider his controversial decision.

Pope Francis tells Trump to prove he is a pro-lifer

Last week, Trump announced that unless Congress passed the act into law, he would be forced to halt the program, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) in the next six months.

Under the program, undocumented refugees who arrived in the United States before attaining the age of 16 years are provided with permits and temporary protection from deportation. According to The Independent, the Pontiff voiced his hope that Trump would rethink his decision because he presents himself as a "good pro-lifer." Pope Francis added that a genuine pro-life political leader would be respectful of the concept of family. According to Reuters and The Independent, the Catholic spiritual leader stated that separating young people from their families would not be beneficial to either the young people or their families.

If DACA is repealed, an approximated 800,000 young people would be left facing the prospect of deportation.

Many of the potential victims of such a move were brought into the United States by their families, and do not have any memories of life in their countries of origin. Trump's announcement was met with criticism, including former President Barack Obama who authorized the policy during his time in office. Republican Senator John McCain also joined in the condemnation of Trump, saying that the US government should not deport children who were brought into the US through no fault of their own.

Need for prudent approach to immigration

Catholic bishops in the US also denounced the threat to end DACA, saying that such a move caused "unnecessary fear" for the young people and their families. Addressing journalists aboard his official plane on Sunday, Pope Francis stated that dashing the hopes and dreams of the young people could make them resort to drugs and alcohol to deal with the pain of deportation.

The Pope has in the past criticized Trump's approach to the issue of immigration, and describing the US leader's plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico as "not Christian." On the decision by the Italian government to stop Libyan immigrants from getting into the country, Pope Francis said that there is a need to manage the flow of refugees prudently.