Updated: February 25, 2021
Pope Francis has demolished President Donald Trump’s central belief that steep and beautiful concrete walls or steel barriers can solve illegal immigration.
“The issue of migration will never be resolved by raising barriers, fomenting fear of others or denying assistance to those who legitimately aspire to a better life for themselves and their families,” the head of the Roman Catholic church said on Saturday in Morocco where he was on a two-day state visit.
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“We know too that the consolidation of true peace comes through the pursuit of social justice, which is indispensable for correcting the economic imbalances and political unrest that have always had a major role in generating conflicts and threatening the whole of humanity,” he added.
Describing immigration as “a wound that cries out of heaven”, the pontiff said those who erect barriers “will become prisoners of the walls that they build.”
Pope Francis did not mention the American leader by name, but many have interpreted what he said as sending a strong message to President Donald Trump who announced last week that he was considering closing the Southern boarder over the influx of migrants.
Trump has described immigrants as rapists and criminals and said only a steep, beautiful concrete wall or steel barrier will stop illegal immigrants from “pouring” into the United States.
The US president made it his campaign core promise to build a physical barrier to stop what he labels as an “invasion” of migrants into the country’s Southern boarder. On Friday, he threatened to shut the border with Mexico for failing to stop migrants.
He also moved to cut aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to punish them for failing to stop a surge in migrant caravans who in their thousands cross into the United States regularly.