In May the Trump administration rolled out a new "zero tolerance" policy on immigration which, among other things, has enforced the separation of migrant children from their parents who have been detained by border officials.
With the new crackdown, the number of unaccompanied minors at the border has jumped 20 percent, with an estimated 10,000 migrant children being held in more than 100 shelters, most of which are at near full capacity, according to a McClatchyDC report. The Trump administration is reportedly considering the construction of a "tent city" in Texas to hold immigrant children.
Late last year, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the UN global compact on migration.
Pope Francis in his message stressed the importance of the compacts, which he said promote the fundamental values of "justice, solidarity and compassion."
"In order to acknowledge and respond to the current migration situation, the assistance of the entire international community is needed, since its transnational dimension exceeds the capacities and resources of many States," he said.
However, "this demands a change in mindset: we must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society."
In comments to journalists, Cardinal Parolin echoed the sentiment, saying the general mentality on migration is "pitifully not the most positive." Because of this, he stressed the need to change "the image of migration."
This is the ultimate goal of the UN compacts, he said, adding that Trump's decision to pull out of the migration compact is "not good, because we have constantly repeated that the whole world has to participate in this."
"It's a global phenomenon which needs the contribution of everyone, no one can [hold] back."
Parolin's comments come as Italy is currently under fire for refusing to allow a boat carrying more than 600 migrants to dock, drawing international outcry. The boat, called The Aquarius, had rescued migrants from the Mediterranean Sea and been on its way to Sicily when new Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini blocked the ship's arrival.
The decision prompted a standoff between Italy and Malta as to who would take the passengers, with Spain eventually stepping in and allowing the boat to dock.
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In comments to journalists, Parolin noted that the issue is complicated. He voiced confidence that Italy's "humanitarian sensitivity has not decreased," but said, "I think that it's important that there is a common response to this problem so that Italy is not left alone to face the problem of migration."
He added that the Church is concerned about the increasing number of children who are separated from their parents. "Everything that signifies violations of the rights of people and of families are shared concerns with the Holy See," he said, noting that the Church's role is to advocate through dialogue in order to find workable solutions.