“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 on Sunday in response to a question about Trump’s threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border.
“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,” Francis added, per Reuters.
The pope did not refer to the American president by name.
Francis was flying back to Rome from Morocco, where he had spoken extensively about the plight of migrants during his two-day visit to the Muslim-majority African nation. On Saturday, he praised Morocco and its king, Mohamed VI, for welcoming and protecting migrants, and warned of the futility of border walls and other barriers in keeping out those who seek a better life.
“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 Catholic leader said, per AP.
The Trump administration announced over the weekend that it was cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to punish those governments for the recent surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We were paying them tremendous amounts of money ― and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us. They set up these [migrant] caravans,” Trump said Friday.
Trump added that the U.S. would close its border with Mexico in the coming days if its southern neighbor failed to stop immigrants from entering the United States.
“I am not kidding around,” he warned.
Francis has long been a vocal critic of Trump’s immigration policies.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” the pope said in 2016, referring to Trump’s plans to prevent migrants from entering the U.S. at the southern border.
Last year, Francis lambasted the Trump administration for its policy of separating migrant children from their parents.
“It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” the pope said at the time.