On Sunday, Pope Francis called Hungarians not to close the doors to migrants in an event attended by 50,000 people in Kossuth Lajos Square in Budapest.
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This petition highly opposes the policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who said that he would not allow Hungary to be transformed into an "immigrant country," as it would become “unrecognizable” for its native people.
In 2015, Orban backed building a steel fence on the border with Serbia to keep out migrants. He also restricted the submission of asylum applications at his country's embassies, a policy that earned him several sentences from the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU)..
Last year, only 18 people obtained refugee status in Hungary, a laughable figure compared to other neighbouring countries. Pope Francis highly opposed this situation, stressing that migrants fleeing poverty should be welcomed and integrated.
“If Hungarians wanted to follow Jesus, they had to shun the closed doors of our indifference towards the underprivileged and those who suffer," the Pope stated, adding that migrants can enrich the culture of host countries.
“Closed doors are painful and contrary to the teachings of Jesus,” he stressed, warning about the dangers of rising nationalism in Europe.
On Saturday, the Pope met 600 refugees and poor people in St. Elisabeth church. About 100 individuals attended this event from the church’s esplanade, where he thanked Hungarian religious associations for supporting vulnerable people.