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Pope Francis Arrives In New York After Speech At Congress


Pope Francis continues his American tour. He's just landed in New York to cheers and waving flags an a band playing "New York, New York."


POPE FRANCIS: The call to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good.


That was the pope speaking to Congress where he called them to action on immigration, climate change and the death penalty and also urged lawmakers to cooperate.

SHAPIRO: And now on to New York and the second leg of his visit to America. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is traveling with the pope. She joins us from the tarmac at JFK. Hi, Sylvia.


SHAPIRO: Describe the scene there. Crowds, bands, cheering - what are you seeing?

POGGIOLI: Well, the first thing, as you said, was a band playing "New York, New York." The pope was greeting by local authorities, the governor, the mayor. He's been greeting people, shaking hands. You see a lot of cardinals and bishops on the tarmac. And the helicopters are already preparing to take him to Manhattan. And it's a noisy and very colorful scene right now.

SHAPIRO: As you say, the helicopters are ready to take him to Manhattan, we should explain to people who are non-New Yorkers that JFK is not on the island of Manhattan which is where he's heading next. So far on this trip, the pope has not shied away from contentious issues. As we heard, he spoke to Congress at the Capitol today where he talked about immigration, something Congress has failed to address. Describe what he said and how it was received.

POGGIOLI: Well, you know what he did. He - first off, he said, I come to speak to you as the son of an immigrant. And he said, I'm also a brother, he said, because I come also from this land, from the Americas. And he said - to Americans, he said, please don't be taken aback by the numbers - the thousands of people who march north to seek better opportunities, better lives. He said, please look at each one as a person. Look at their faces. Listen to their voices.

And you have to understand that for Pope Francis, the Argentine (inaudible), the son of Italian immigrants, immigration is a positive thing. He thinks it contributes to society, makes it grow. He says it's something that should not be disdained. He got a lot of applause.

SHAPIRO: He also spoke about abolishing the death penalty, ending the arms trade. He spoke about climate change. But now he is in New York, the latest stop on this American tour. What is on his agenda there?

POGGIOLI: Well, tomorrow he gives a speech to the general assembly of the United Nations. We expect he will again address the environment, which is one of his issues he's very passionate about. Also, in leu of an important climate-change conference in Paris at the end of the year, he will probably urge world leaders to finally make - reach an agreement on setting guidelines for - to limit greenhouse gasses and global warming.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Sylvia Poggioli speaking with us from her cellphone in New York where the pope has just landed. You can hear the band behind her. New York city is the latest stop on the pope's American tour. Thank you, Sylvia.

POGGIOLI: Thank you, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for NPR's International Desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy, the Vatican, Western Europe, and the Balkans. Poggioli's on-air reporting and analysis have encompassed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and how immigration has transformed European societies.
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