Bannon on migrant family separation: Zero tolerance doesn't have to be justified

Bannon on migrant family separation: Zero tolerance doesn't have to be justified
© Getty

Stephen Bannon, former chief strategist to President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE, said Sunday that the Trump administration’s "zero tolerance" policy on immigration doesn’t have to be justified.

“It’s zero tolerance. I don’t think you have to justify it,” Bannon told ABC’s “This Week.” “We have a crisis on the southern border but the elites in the city … want to manage situations to bad outcomes. And Donald Trump is not going to do that, he’s just not going to kick the can down the road.”

“He went to a zero tolerance policy. It is a crime to come across illegally and children get separated. That’s the law and he is enforcing the law,” Bannon added.

ADVERTISEMENT

The policy, announced in April by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war McCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' MORE, seeks to prosecute migrants who cross into the U.S. illegally. The practice has led to thousands of migrant children being separated from their parents while their parents are prosecuted.

At the time, Sessions acknowledged the process could lead to such separations upon adults being apprehended.

Questioned on the morality of the immigration policy, Bannon said morality wasn’t a factor when enforcing the policy.

“The morality is the law. They are criminals when they come across illegally,” Bannon said.

Trump has claimed that the policy is in place due to Democrats' refusal to negotiate more stringent immigration laws, but the Trump administration policy has garnered widespread condemnation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. 

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) on Saturday called the poicy "unacceptable," charging the White House with the responsibility to end the practice.

"This is clearly something that the administration can change. They don't need legislation to change it," Hurd said.