President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the southern border if Mexico - our third-largest trading partner - does not slow the flow of refugees seeking asylum in the United States.
“If they don’t stop them, we are closing the border," Trump said on Friday. "We’ll close it. And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games."
Trump doubled down on his threat in a tweet the following day:
Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. O… https://t.co/9hPatAY92M— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1553978190.0
Trump's latest round of anti-immigrant rhetoric caught the attention of Pope Francis while he was in Morocco after working on improving Christian-Muslim relations.
He tweeted on Saturday:
"Every human being has the right to life, to dream and to find his or her rightful place in our “common home”! Every person has a right to the future."
Every human being has the right to life, to dream and to find his or her rightful place in our “common home”! Ever… https://t.co/CnF2mfaBkM— Pope Francis (@Pope Francis) 1553968800.0
“The issue of migration will never be resolved by raising barriers," Francis said, "fomenting fear of others or denying assistance to those who legitimately aspire to a better life for themselves and their families."
During his flight back to Rome on Sunday, Francis issued a dire warning for "builders of walls" after being asked to share his thoughts on Trump's proposals.
"Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build. 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: "With fear, we will not move forward, with walls, we will remain closed within these walls."
Will Trump heed the pope's words? Probably not.
@nytimes That went over POTUS’s head.— David Foyn (@David Foyn) 1554127736.0
@nytimes One can only hope.— Ann Lear (@Ann Lear) 1554110426.0
Solid hill, Papa.
@nytimes Wise advice.— Hope Nelson (@Hope Nelson) 1554126913.0
Some found it ironic that the pope would be against walls given that Vatican City and the papal residence are both surrounded by massive enclosures.
The difference, however, is that the Vatican's front door is always open.
@nytimes ...and then he went back to the safety of the Vatican walls.— Aldous Huxley's Ghost™ (@Aldous Huxley's Ghost™) 1554107573.0
@nytimes Unlike the Vatican .. whose walls are .. nonexistent.. right ? I— 💧💧💧mrmadrigal💧💧💧 (@💧💧💧mrmadrigal💧💧💧) 1554113683.0
@nytimes Really? The Pope? Who lives in the Vatican? Well, I guess he’d know...?— Egon Alter (@Egon Alter) 1554112833.0
@nytimes Then I suggest he tear down the walls around the Vatican— Tracy Taylor (@Tracy Taylor) 1554107515.0
Others simply appreciated Francis's message of peace.
@Pontifex World peace is important since every human being has the right to exist and live in harmony.— Dr Harry Babu Ph. D. (@Dr Harry Babu Ph. D.) 1553982359.0
@Pontifex Amen Holy Father— MaggieN (@MaggieN) 1553978352.0
@Pontifex Amen— Delores Ruffin (@Delores Ruffin) 1553978235.0
@Pontifex Hallelujah, amen 🙏— carmella (@carmella) 1553976804.0
@Pontifex Our job as "family" is to encourage those future's dreams. They are our tomorrow's.— Dianne (@Dianne) 1553969333.0
This weekend was not the first time Francis has knocked Trump for his stances on immigration.
In 2016, Francis said of Trump: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."
Francis also blasted the Trump administration's family separation policy. “It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” he said last year.