Pope Francis boards an airplane on his way to Panama, at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. History's first Latin American pope is the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina and is expected to offer words of hope to young people gathered in Panama for World Youth Day. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The Latest: Pope says fear of migration is 'making us crazy'

January 23, 2019 - 4:00 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on the pope's visit to Panama (all times local):

1 p.m.

Pope Francis says fear of migration is "making us crazy" as he begins a trip to central America amid a standoff over President Donald Trump's promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and a new caravan of migrants heading north.

Francis, asked by reporters en route to Panama Wednesday about the proposed border wall, responded: "It is the fear that makes us crazy."

The Roman Catholic Church's first Latin American pope and the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, Francis has made the plight of migrants and refugees a cornerstone of his papacy. He is also expected to offer words of encouragement to young people gathered in Panama for World Youth Day, the church's once-every-three-year pep rally that aims to invigorate the next generation of Catholics in their faith.

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6 a.m.

Pope Francis is looking to leave the sex abuse scandal buffeting his papacy behind as he heads to Central America amid a standoff over President Donald Trump's promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and a new caravan of migrants heading north.

History's first Latin American pope, the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, has made the plight of migrants and refugees a cornerstone of his papacy. He is also expected to offer words of encouragement to young people gathered in Panama for World Youth Day, the church's once-every-three-year pep rally that aims to invigorate the next generation of Catholics in their faith.

Panama Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa said Francis' message is likely to resonate with young Central Americans who see their only future free of violence and poverty in migrating to the U.S. — "young people who often fall into the hands of drug traffickers and so many other realities that our young people face."

The pope is expected to urge young people to create their own opportunities, while calling on governments do their share as well.

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