By Emeka Ejere
Pope Francis has urged the nations of the world to take in as many refugees as possible.
The pontiff told reporters aboard the papal plane that he believes it is incumbent on governments to “welcome, to accompany, to place, to integrate” as many refugees as their societies can reasonably accommodate.
“Each country must do this with the virtue of government, which is prudence, and take in as many refugees as it can, as many as it can integrate, educate, give jobs to,” Francis said during the in-flight press conference, according to The Associated Press.
“We are living through a flood of refugees who are fleeing war and hunger,” the pope said.
More than 33,000 people have risked their lives to reach Europe by sea in 2018 so far, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. About 771 are estimated to have drowned during the journey.
Francis was responding to a journalist’s question aboard the papal airplane during a trip back to Rome from Geneva.
A reporter asked him to share his thoughts on the current crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the influx of migrants attempting to enter Europe.
The pope reaffirmed his support for U.S. Catholic bishops who have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s policy of separating families who attempt to enter the U.S. illegally.
“I am behind what the bishops say,” the pope said. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called the tactic “immoral.”
On Wednesday, Trump reversed the policy, signing an executive order so that immigrant families could be detained together.