Pope Francis on Monday urged countries to greatly improve their welcome to migrants and stop collective expulsions, saying migrants' dignity and right to protection trumps national security concerns.
Francis' politically pointed message was made in view of the Catholic Church's 2018 world refugee day, celebrated Jan. 14. It comes amid mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and beyond following waves of migrant arrivals and Islamic extremist attacks.
In the message, Francis demanded governments welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants, saying Jesus' message of love is rooted in welcoming the "rejected strangers of every age."
He demanded a simplified process of granting humanitarian and temporary visas and rejected arbitrary and collective expulsions as "unsuitable." He said the principle of ensuring each person's dignity "obliges us to always prioritize personal safety over national security."