Sen. Bernie Sanders, a professed agnostic of Socialist leanings, sought to appeal to voters by paraphrasing Pope Francis during a rally appearance in Arizona. Flanked by fellow leftist Democrat, Rep. Raul Grijalva, the Democratic Party’s runner-up in the current presidential season said “As I have traveled around this country and talked to immigrant families, and particularly Latino immigrant families, I am struck by the fear and sadness that grips so many of them.” Sanders added, “I have seen the sadness of families torn apart. That is why I am here today. We don’t need a wall or barbed wire, we need to fix our broken criminal justice system.”
Also on the stage on March 20 was Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada, an American citizen who was born in Mexico. On his website, Sheriff Estrada asserts that his county has the safest stretch of any along the 2,000 mile border with Mexico. Sanders met with immigrant families near the U.S. border with Mexico. He denounced the solutions Trump has offered for resolving the problem posed by the influx of illegal aliens, especially from Latin America. “I would hope that all of us are rightly appalled by divisive, bigoted and xenophobic comments of people like Donald Trump,” Sanders said. ”To insult a nation is not befitting of anybody, let alone a candidate of the U.S. presidency.”
Paraphrasing the words of the pontiff, Sanders said, “The solution is compassion not hatred. Good public policy, not bigotry.”
When Pope Francis visited the border that divides San Diego, California, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, he used the occasion to denounce the violence and narco-terrorism that is driving thousands of people north from Latin America to the U.S.
During his final Mass in Mexico on February 17, he called for conversion, and an end to the circumstances that are driving people away from their homes. “This time for conversion, this time for salvation, is the time for mercy. And so, let us say together in response to the suffering on so many faces: In your compassion and mercy, Lord, have pity on us … cleanse us from our sins and create in us a pure heart, a new spirit .”
Rep. Grijalva is a Catholic, but is also a supporter of abortion rights. He voted against amendments introduced by Democrats in 2010 to limit taxpayer-funded abortions in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).