Pope Francis continues to speak out against anti-immigration policies.

Pope Francis fiercely criticized governments which construct walls to bar migrants. This is not the first time he has requested a compassionate approach to migration. Francis warned, “Those who build walls will become prisoners of the walls they put up.” The pope made these comments while flying back home after his visit to Morocco on March 31. He remarked when reporters asked him about many nations, including Spain and the United States to build fences and walls to bar migrants. The pontiff reputedly wept when a Spanish reporter showed him photographs of concertina wire making up the border between Morocco and Spain in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa.

The pope’s remark about walls has specific resonance in the U.S., where President Donald J. Trump won his presidency on an anti-migrant agenda. Trump has pledged to construct a U.S.-Mexico border wall, and his speeches are mostly fulminations against undocumented migrants. Pope Francis minced no words to condemn the populist stand taken by many politicians, even suggesting that such a method gains followers propelled by fear, pointing out that Hitler used the same technique during the 1930s. He lamented that many good people fall into the trap of populism. He went on to say that fear kickstarts dictatorships.

Pope Francis has often harshly criticized border walls and hardline immigration policies. In early 2019 when he visited Panama, the pope said those who build walls sow fear. The leader of the Catholic Church alluded to Trump not being a Christian during his presidential campaign in 2016. He said a person who thinks exclusively about constructing walls and not the building of bridges could not be termed a Christian. He went on to say the gospel cannot condone Trump’s actions.

Pope Francis’ recent statements are the same as what he said to Moroccan leaders during his visit to the country. He pointed out only social justice has the power to correct the economic imbalances in the world. He claimed that fear would not allow anyone to move forward, and those who build walls will be trapped within the structure.

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