Pope Francis has made no secret in the past of his disdain for President Trump’s immigration policy. Francis speaks frequently of welcoming migrants; he has said he prefers bridges rather than walls.
On Wednesday, as the pope flew to Panama for a massive gathering of Catholic youth, a reporter asked Francis about a barrier constructed between the United States and Mexico, near San Diego, according to Reuters.
Francis dismissed the barrier as foolish and said it was motivated by some Americans' fear of migrants. “It is the fear that makes us crazy,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
He has seen such barriers firsthand. In the months leading up to Trump’s election, Francis visited Mexico and stopped at the U.S. border, where he prayed for the people who have died while trying to cross.
Francis has criticized Trump many times over the past several years. The pontiff has said the president was “not Christian” because of his views on immigration and ought to extend protections to undocumented young immigrants if he is actually “pro-life.” And when Trump visited the Vatican in 2017, Francis gave him as a gift his encyclical on climate change, another subject on which they disagree.
Early on, Trump fired back, calling Francis’s suggestion that he was un-Christian “disgraceful.” The pair acted as if they had somewhat patched things up when Trump later visited the Holy See.