Once again, Pope Francis has spoken out against border security via wall-building, warning that countries that do not welcome migrants will become “prisoners.”
“Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build,” the pope told reporters aboard the papal plane, according to CNN. “This is history.”
Pope Francis admitted to weeping after a Spanish journalist showed a piece of concertina wire from Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta, which borders Morocco.
“I realize that with this problem (of migration), a government has a hot potato in its hands, but it must be resolved differently, humanely, not with razor wire,” he added.
According to CNBC, the pope’s statements echoed those he made to Moroccan leaders on Sunday, when he said that only social justice will correct the world’s economic imbalances. “With fear, we will not move forward; with walls, we will remain closed within these walls,” he said.
This marks the second time this year that Pope Francis has emphatically denounced walls for use of border security — a running theme throughout his pontificate. When returning from a trip to Panama in January, he said that fear of migrants is making people crazy.
“It is the fear that makes us crazy,” Pope Francis said after reportedly calling a border wall a “folly.”
Pope Francis has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s stance on immigration since he first announced his candidacy. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Francis famously showed more hostility to the candidate promising a pro-life/pro-religious agenda than he did to the pro-abortion Hillary Clinton. At one point, the pope suggested that President Trump is not even a real Christian due to his desiring the building of border walls.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel,” said Pope Francis of President Trump’s policies.
In November 2018, as the migrant caravan from Honduras made its way toward the U.S. southern border just in time for the midterm elections, Pope Francis showed support for migrants and even expressed appreciation for their need to “pile up.”
Another phenomenon of migrants – let’s think of the caravan that goes from Honduras to the United States – is to pile up . The migrant usually tries to go in groups. Sometimes it has to go alone, but it is normal to pile up, because we feel stronger in migration. And there is the community. In football there is the possibility of a ‘free agent,’ that can move according to the opportunities, but from you there is no possibility, the ‘free agent’ from you fail. Always the community. Always in the community, because your vocation is precisely for migrants who pile up. Feel migrants. Feel, yes, migrants facing needs, migrants before the Lord, migrants among you. And for this the need to pile up.
In the same speech, Pope Francis focused on how nations need to foster the virtue of welcoming strangers or risk their own demise.
“It’s easier to welcome a stranger than to be welcomed, and you have to do both,” said Pope Francis. “You must teach, help welcome the stranger, and give all the possibilities to the nations that have everything or enough to use these four words that you have said. How to welcome a foreigner.”