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Pope to governments: Legalize irregular migrants, don't close borders

Europe
21.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vatican City (dpa) - Undocumented migrants should be welcomed by their host nations and governments should help more people flee poverty and conflict, Pope Francis said Monday, challenging prevailing closed-border policies in the West.

The Argentine pontiff, son of an Italian immigrant family, renewed his pro-migrant stance even as the United States and Europe are seeking to contain migrant inflows, sometimes linking this to anti-terrorism efforts.

In a message in advance of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which the Catholic Church will observe on January 14, Francis said governments should be "offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally."

"This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families," as well as "humanitarian corridors" for vulnerable refugees, the pope said.

Newcomers must be offered "adequate and dignified initial accomodation," guaranteed "freedom of religious belief and practice," and helped to integrate, he said.

"This process can be accelerated by granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalization to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival," the pope argued.

Francis has often recalled that helping the destitute is a Christian duty, and on Monday he noted that, "when duly recognized and valued, the potential and skills of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are a true resource for the communities that welcome them."

 

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