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Pope: Countries should accept only as many refugees as they can integrate

Pope: Countries should accept only as many refugees as they can integrate

Joshua J McElwee | NCR

While countries should be open to taking in refugees and migrants in need they also must be prudent about only accepting as many as they can integrate into their societies, Pope Francis said.

In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Sweden, the pontiff was asked about countries that have accepted large numbers of migrants but are now considering stricter border controls.

"I believe that ... you cannot close your heart to a refugee," said Francis, but added that governments must use prudence to "make a calculation for how [refugees] can be settled because you must not only receive refugees but proceed to integrate them."

"If a country has a capacity of 20 for integration, let's say, do it up to that," the pope suggested. "If more, do more."

"But always, an open heart," Francis continued. "It is not human to close your hearts. And in the long run, you pay [for it]."

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