The one week visit of Pope Francis to Mexico, from 12 - 19 February, 2016, has been criticised by Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump. The real estate tycoon was particularly scathing of the Pope's 'lack of understanding' concerning the Mexico-US immigration situation. Trump described the pontiff as a 'very political person who is being exploited by Mexico at the expense of the US.'
Is "The Donald" Trump actually a Pro-Amnesty Liberal on Immigration?
But is "The Donald" Trump actually just pretending to be tough on immigration to get votes? He needs undocumented Mexican workers for his construction businesses. In the past he has made positive remarks about Mexicans in the US. It also has to be said that Trump has in the past made positive remarks about Muslims as well It seems that Trump wants to deport illegal immigrants and then let most of them come back in again under an "amnesty" program. In an interview for CNN in July 2015 Trump had the following to say:
…I would get people out and then have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal…. A lot of these people are helping us … and sometimes it's jobs a citizen of the United States doesn't want to do. I want to move 'em out, and we're going to move 'em back in and let them be legal…
Pope Francis Visit to Mexico and Catholic Mass with Illegal Immigrants
Pope Francis' visit to Mexico has already included a stop-off at a paediatric hospital, a meeting in the southern Chiapas region to speak with members of the indigenous community, speaking with several young people and workers, and celebrating Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
On the final day of the Pope's trip he will visit the town of Ciudad Juárez, which is located on the Mexican-US border. The Pope is expected to participate in a number of events that will include a celebration of a 'cross-border' Mass that will include participants on boths sides of the Mexico-US border.
Trump comments on Mexico-US immigration situation
On the eve of the Pope's visit to Mexico, Trump was being interviewed by the Fox Business Network. When reminded by host - Stu Varney - that the Pope would be 'standing at the border with migrants, Trump was asked for his opinion on the matter.
Trump's US immigration rhetoric concerning Mexicans has been abhorrent. Recently, the Republican Presidential forerunner labelled Mexicans 'rapists.' Commenting on the Pope's visit, he said: "I think that the Pope is a very political person." He added that the Pope was simply being exploited by Mexico to further its interests against the US.
Trump continued: "I don't think he grasps the problems our country [the US] has. I don't think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico. I think Mexico encouraged him to do it because they want the border to stay just the way it is because they're making a fortune and we're losing it."
Trump, if elected President, has pledged to construct a wall along the US border with Mexico. Also claiming, somewhat bizarrely, that Mexico will pay for it. Much of his Presidential campaign has focused on US immigration; he claims that it was he who started the debate on tackling illegal immigration by making it the 'centrepiece' of his campaign. This contradicts what he has said in the past when he has talked like a liberal pro-immigration reform, pro-amnesty Republican.
The Pope is no stranger to the US immigration debate, and indeed the rhetoric surrounding the issue. In an address to the US Congress in September 2015, he gently but firmly urged lawmakers not to be 'fearful of foreigners' and stated that many are 'descended from immigrants.'
Pro-Immigrant Pope's itinerary
As part of his stay in Ciudad Juárez, Pope Francis will pay a visit to the Cereso prison, meet with 3,600 business leaders, attend lunch with Catholic seminarians and celebrate a cross border Mass attended by Mexicans and Americans.
A large field near the Benito Juárez Stadium in El Punto will be the setting for the Mass. The location is in close proximity to the US border. Event organizers say that tickets will be issued to Catholic parishes from either side of the border who want to attend the Mass. The venue holds around 220,000 people. It is expected that some of those celebrating Mass will be undocumented Mexican illegal immigrants in the US. Who knows perhaps some of them will be undocumented Mexican immigrants from a Trump Construction site.