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Pope Francis pushed back against French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders in Europe on Saturday, challenging them to open their ports to migrants. Francis went on to claim that the continent is not facing a migration "emergency."
The Associated Press reported that Francis does not believe there is a migrant crisis happening in Europe, but that there is a long-term reality that governments around the world have to deal with in a humane way. He continued by suggesting that all European countries should offer a legal path to citizenship.
Francis told Macron and several regional bishops that the Mediterranean Sea "cries out for justice, with its shores that on the one hand exude affluence, consumerism and waste, while on the other there is poverty and instability."
Despite Francis claiming there is no migrant crisis, the reality of what France has faced over the past several months seems to suggest otherwise. The Spectator reported in July that an Algerian woman who allegedly raped and murdered a 12-year-old should have been deported before the incident took place. A second report, from June, revealed that a self-described "Christian from Syria" allegedly went on a stabbing spree in France, leaving several young children in critical condition.
Francis' comments come after the French government has threatened to structure a naval blockade of Tunisia in an effort to step up repatriations, per the report. The government has also increased its patrols on the southern border to keep migrants in Italy from crossing over.
"May we let ourselves be moved by the stories of so many of our unfortunate brothers and sisters who have the right both to emigrate and not to emigrate, and not become closed in indifference," Francis said. "In the face of the terrible scourge of the exploitation of human beings, the solution is not to reject but to ensure, according to the possibilities of each, an ample number of legal and regular entrances."
Macron's government has taken a stronger stance on migration and national security issues after being criticized by conservatives in the country. The AP reported that elections for the European Union's parliament are approaching, and Macron has been reportedly advocating for the EU to bolster its external borders.
There were almost 7,000 migrants who arrived on the small Italian island of Lampedusa in just one day last week, temporarily outnumbering the population that lives there.
But it appears Francis is not convinced there is a problem, instead claiming that talk of migration "emergency" only increases "alarmist propaganda" and plays upon people's fears.
“Those who risk their lives at sea do not invade, they look for welcome, for life,” Francis said.
“As for the emergency, the phenomenon of migration is not so much a short-term urgency, always good for fueling alarmist propaganda, but a reality of our times, a process that involves three continents around the Mediterranean and that must be governed with wise foresight, including a European response capable of coping with the objective difficulties.”
Live: Pope Francis and Macron attend closing session of Mediterranean meetingswww.youtube.com
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