IQUIQUE, Chile – Pope Francis talked about exploitation and the plight of undocumented migrants during a Mass on Thursday that concluded his visit to Chile.
Speaking to the faithful on a beach in this northern city, the Argentine pontiff noted that in the language of the indigenous Aymara people, Iquique signifies “land of dreams.”
Immigrants account for around 10 percent of the city’s population. While most of them are from neighboring Bolivia and Peru, some have come from as far away as Haiti.
Migration, Francis said, “is always based on the hope of obtaining a better life.”
“But we know that it always goes accompanied by backpacks filled with fear and uncertainty about what is to come,” he added.
“Iquique is a zone of immigrants who remind us of the nobility of men and women, of entire families who, in the face of adversity, do not surrender, and they make their way seeking life,” the pope said.
He called on the people of Iquique to preserve their city “as a land of hospitality.”
The pontiff decried “situations of injustice” and “new forms of exploitation” in the form of job insecurity “that destroys lives and households.”
“Let us be alert to those who take advantage of immigrants because they don’t know the language or do not have proper documents,” Pope Francis said.