THE VATICAN, Italy (The Adobo Chronicles®) – Pope Francis is back in The Vatican after his successful visit to Cuba and the United States.
Unknown to many, the Pontiff had originally wanted to enter the United States from Mexico, crossing the U.S. Border between Tijuana and San Diego via a rented Fiat. It was a gesture that Francis wanted to undertake as a way of shining the spotlight on the issue of immigration.
Unfortunately, the plan did not materialize because of some passport and visa problems.
The pope has a Vatican passport which allows him to travel anywhere in the world as a head of state. But he also recently renewed his Argentine passport and national identity card.
Because entering the U.S. via Mexico was not part of his official itinerary, the Pope could not use his Vatican passport. He had to use his Argentine passport and needed an entry visa for the U.S.
Argentina is not among the countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) of the United States. The VWP exempts citizens and passport holders of the participating countries from visitor visa requirements.
Because the Pope’s decision to enter the U.S. through Mexico was last-minute, he didn’t have enough time to apply and secure a U.S. visa using his Argentine passport.
The immigration system of the United States is so broken that even the Holy Father is not immune from the strict and sometimes ridiculous visa requirements to visit the land of opportunity.