Trump looks at prototypes for border wall that bishop calls ‘grotesque’

| Rhina Guidos | March 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
Border wall prototypes

Border wall prototypes are seen near San Diego March 12. Image taken from Las Torres, Mexico. CNS photo/Alejandro Zepeda, EPA

On the day that marked the fifth anniversary of the election of a pope who has called on others to “build bridges, not walls,” the president of the United States toured Southern California to look at prototypes for a wall he promised to build on the border with Mexico.

“The state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas. They won’t tell you that,” President Donald Trump said March 13 while on tour to visit possible models of the wall in San Diego.

The president said he was looking for a wall that authorities can see through and that would deter would-be crossers from climbing it. The wall was a major campaign promise for the Republican president, who said that Mexico would pay for the structure expected to cost billions, saying it is necessary to secure the border.

The government of Mexico has scoffed at the idea of paying for it. Others, such as Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego say it’s a symbol of division. He had different words for the structure that the president called “beautiful.”

“It is a sad day for our country when we trade the majestic, hope-filled symbolism of the Statue of Liberty for an ineffective and grotesque wall, which both displays and inflames the ethnic and cultural divisions that have long been the underside of our national history,” Bishop McElroy said in a statement after the president’s tour of the prototypes.

“Our faith is in the God who is the Father of us all, and who urges us to see Jesus himself in the immigrants and refugees who seek safety and freedom,” the bishop said.

Many Catholic groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Francis, have opposed the wall.

“I am disheartened that the president has prioritized building a wall on our border with Mexico,” Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin Texas, chairman of the bishops’ Committee of Migration, said in January 2017. “This action will put immigrant lives needlessly in harm’s way. Construction of such a wall will only make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers.”

“The wall is a campaign promise, but not a realistic solution to the challenge of irregular migration,” said Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy for New York-based Center for Migration Studies. “It is a proposal looking for a problem, as border crossings are down considerably and should continue to fall into the future.”

Appleby said that policymakers “should examine the facts and deny funding for a damaging and costly wall. Instead, they should focus on real solutions to our broken system.”

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