Fake News: Pope Francis Did NOT Say US Must Open Borders To 'As Many Migrants As Possible'

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Pope Francis Did NOT Say US Must Open Borders To 'As Many Migrants As Possible'

Did Pope Francis call for the United States to have open borders and to take in "as many migrants as possible"? No, that's not true, he didn't say that. A twisted quote appeared in the headline of an article on a website that habitually takes bits and pieces of real news and then adds fake facts in their own headlines to make them more clickbait-worthy.

The story originated from an article published by YourNewsWire on June 22, 2018 titled "Pope Francis: US Must Open Borders To 'As Many Migrants As Possible'" (archived here) which opened:

Pope Francis has called for open borders in the United States, urging authorities to take in as many refugees as they can, and has provided the examples of Germany and Sweden as models for the US to follow.

"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," the Pope told reporters aboard his papal plane after a trip to Geneva, Switzerland.

Pope Francis praised both Germany and Sweden for being model societies and "most generous" in taking in migrants, and said all governments should follow their example and take in as many refugees as their countries can handle.

As the introduction of the article makes clear (and the original New York Times article it refers to as well) the Pope was talking about "refugees", not "migrants". Calling for countries to help as many people fleeing war and persecution as possible is quite different from calling for the opening of all borders and letting anyone in who wants to come.

Pope: Countries Should Take In as Many Refugees as They Can

Pope Francis urged nations Thursday to take in as many refugees as they can integrate into their societies, but also to invest in places like Africa so migrants won't turn to human traffickers to reach countries that can offer a better life.

The summary of the article on social media also mentioned "unchecked immigration" along with the nations of Germany and Sweden, all of which the Pope never mentioned.

Pope Francis: US Must Open Borders To 'As Many Migrants As Possible'

The United States must follow the example of Germany and Sweden and open its borders to unchecked immigration, according to Pope Francis.

The only context in which the Pope praised countries for being "most generous" in the New York Times article was this one:

He praised both Italy and Greece for being "most generous" in taking in migrants rescued at sea, and said all governments should take in as many refugees as their countries can handle.

YourNewsWire has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" recently lost its verification checkmark according to a report from MMFA.

The Terms of Use of the site also make it clear they don't really stand behind the accuracy of any of their reporting:


The site was profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we also reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking. It appears the site has changed back to it's old name in the mean time but you can still see the NewsPunch name in the contact email address in the footer.

We wrote about yournewswire.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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