.- Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, condemned the building of walls between countries to keep out immigrants and said the United States’ plan to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border was part of an "inhuman program."
The cardinal made his comments on Tuesday during a press conference presenting Pope Benedict's message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
"Speaking of borders, I must unfortunately say that in a world that greeted the fall of the Berlin Wall with joy, new walls are being built between neighborhood and neighborhood, city and city, nation and nation," the cardinal said.
Reuters reported that when the cardinal was asked if the U.S.-Mexican fence was the wrong thing to do, he said: "Yes, that's exactly what it is."
The cardinal praised Mexican and U.S. bishops for opposing what he called "an inhuman program, which is what the construction of that wall and all others is."
President George Bush signed legislation last month approving the construction of a 1,100-km fence, stating that it is necessary for border control to keep out criminals and terrorists. Thousands of poor Mexicans risk their lives each year sneaking across the border to seek jobs.
In his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Pope calls for more laws to help immigrants integrate and for more protection for women immigrants who sometimes end up as victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution.