.- During a press conference Sunday aboard the papal plane from Colombia to Rome, Pope Francis said that though he is not familiar with how the decision to end DACA was made, he hopes it will be reconsidered as part of a pro-life ethic which defends the unity of families.

“I hope that it will be rethought a little, because I have heard the President of the United States speak as a pro-life man. If he is a good pro-life man, he understands that the family is the cradle of life, and unity must be defended. This is what comes to me,” Francis said Sept. 10.

“I have heard of this law. I have not been able to read the articles, how the decision was made. I don’t know it well,” he stated. “Keeping young people away from the family is not something that brings good fruit.”

Asked if he thought that ending DACA will cause youth who benefitted under the program to lose their joy and hope in the future, he said that when youth feel exploited, whether in this case or others, they are robbed of hope.

DACA was expanded to include eligible parents who brought their children illegally to the U.S. in a program called “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.” In 2016, the Supreme Court upheld a halt on that program going into effect, and U.S. Secretary of State Jeff Sessions warned Tuesday that DACA could get struck down in court.

The Trump administration said it would end DACA by phasing it out. Sessions said that it was an “unconstitutional” overreach of executive power, especially since Congress refused several times to grant such benefits to undocumented immigrants.

However, the decision has been met with harsh criticism, including from U.S. bishops, who said ending the program was a “national tragedy” for all parties and argued that it is unfair to deport young people who did not make the choice to come to the U.S., but who nevertheless have contributed to the country by holding down jobs, going to college and even serving in the nation’s armed forces.

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