In a May 28 interview on Televisa, a Mexican network, Pope Francis compared the U.S.-Mexico border wall – a major policy initiative of the Trump administration – to the Berlin Wall, which was erected by Soviet and East German Communists to prevent German citizens from fleeing to the West.
During the interview – translated by LifeSiteNews.com -- Vatican correspondent Valentina Alazraki reminded Pope Francis about the Mass he offered at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2015 and then said things had not improved over the last four years. “There is still talk of building more walls, including closing the border,” said Alazraki. “We have seen heartbreaking images of children separated from their families, from their parents ….”
Pope Francis said he did not understand “this new culture of defending territory by building a wall.”
“We knew of one, of Berlin [Wall], and the many headaches and suffering it caused us,” said the Pope. “But it appears that man does what animals don’t, right? Man is the only animal that falls twice into the same hole, right? We are returning to the same thing, right? Building walls as if it were a defense, right?”
“Defense is dialogue, growth, acceptance and education, integration, and the healthy but human limit of ‘no more than this,’” said the Pope.
When asked what he he would say to President Donald Trump if he were there, Pope Francis replied, “the same because I’ve said this in public. I also said in public that he who builds walls winds up a prisoner of the walls he builds.”
“Instead, the one who builds bridges makes friends, gives a hand, even though he stays on the other side,” said the Pope. “But there is dialogue, right? And you can defend the territory perfectly with a bridge ... not necessarily with a wall. I speak of political bridges or cultural bridges, right? We're not going to bridge all the borders, right? It is impossible.”
The Berlin Wall was a concrete and barbed wire barrier, 12-feet-high, constructed by the Soviet and East German Communists along the border of East and West Berlin in 1961. The wall was built primarily to keep East German citizens and other people from fleeing to West Berlin and the West in general.
The 27-mile Berlin Wall included 302 guard towers armed with machine guns, more than one million land mines and 3,000 attack dogs, according to the CNN Library. It is estimated that 5,000 people successfully escaped over the wall. However, at least 140 people were killed by gunshot, “fatal accident while trying to escape, or suicide,” reported CNN Library.
The U.S.-Mexico border and existing wall, barriers, and fencing demarcate the two countries. Citizens of Mexico and the United States freely travel between the two countries for work and leisure every single day. A longer, stronger border wall is a policy goal of the Trump administration to deter illegal immigration into the United States, and to help stop criminals, drug and sex traffickers, human smugglers and terrorists.
In his Jan. 25, 2017 executive order on border security, President Trump stated, “The recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico has placed a significant strain on Federal resources and overwhelmed agencies charged with border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the local communities into which many of the aliens are placed.
“Transnational criminal organizations operate sophisticated drug- and human-trafficking networks and smuggling operations on both sides of the southern border, contributing to a significant increase in violent crime and United States deaths from dangerous drugs. Among those who illegally enter are those who seek to harm Americans through acts of terror or criminal conduct. Continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States.
“Federal immigration law both imposes the responsibility and provides the means for the Federal Government, in cooperation with border States, to secure the Nation’s southern border.”