US Catholic bishops are speaking out against Donald Trump's closure of a migration scheme for children crossing the southern border after fleeing violence.
The Central American Minors programme was set up under Barack Obama's administration and allows parents already living in the US to request a temporary two-year stay for their children.
On the same day Pope Francis urged world leaders to prioritise refugees' welfare over security interests, the US bishops criticised Trump's decision to end the programme saying he had 'unnecessarily chosen to cut off proven and safe alternatives to irregular and dangerous migration'.
In a statement Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, said: 'We supported the CAM program, which included both refugee and parole options, precisely because it provided a legal and organized way for children to migrate to the United States and reunify with families.'
He added: 'Terminating the parole program will neither promote safety for these children nor help our government regulate migration.'
It comes as Pope Francis released a 20-point plan tellingpoliticians migrants personal safety and dignity should be prioritised over national security and, 'for the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorisation'.
The CAM program was open to migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to try to control the numbers of unaccompanied children into the United States escaping violence.
'We know that children must be protected. They must be given the ability to remain in their home countries and find opportunities, but they must also be able to leave and migrate safely to find protection when there are no alternatives,' the bishop went on. 'The CAM parole program offered part of that solution - a legal way to migrate for the most vulnerable of children.'