Pope Francis says that President Trump should rethink his decision to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program if he considers himself “pro-life.”
“The president of the United States presents himself as pro-life and if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected,” Francis said aboard the papal plane Monday, according to CNN.
Francis admitted he was not familiar with the specifics of DACA, which Trump’s administration announced it would phase out earlier this month.
“I think this law comes not from parliament but from the executive,” he said while traveling back to the Vatican after a five-day trip to Colombia. “If that is so, I am hopeful that it will be re-thought.”
Francis additionally criticized climate change skeptics as his plane prepared to cross over Hurricane Irma’s path on its way back from Cartagena, Colombia.
“If we don’t go back, we will go down,” he said, referencing a study which suggested that the world must combat climate change in the next few years or suffer grave consequences.
“Whoever denies it has to go to the scientists and ask them,” Francis continued. “They speak very clearly, scientists are precise. Then they decide and history will judge those decisions.”
Francis next quoted the books of Psalms from the Bible’s Old Testament when asked why some governments avoid tackling the issue, noting “man is a stupid and hard-headed being.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced earlier this month that Trump’s administration would scrap DACA after six months.
The controversial immigration program shielded immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. as children from deportation and let them get a renewable work permit.
Approximately 800,000 people have become “Dreamers,” or DACA recipients, since the program’s initial implementation in 2012.
Trump has argued that former President Obama exceeded his presidential powers by starting the initiative.
The president has since repeatedly urged Congress to address DACA as part of broader immigration reform.