Bannon Pushes Back Against Bishops over Criticism of Immigration Policy

ROME – Former strategic advisor to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, lashed out at the Catholic Church on Sunday, referring to the institution as “one of the worst instigators of this open borders policy.”

Bannon’s remarks regarding immigration were delivered in an interview with Jonathan Karl on ABC News, after a week in which religious leaders throughout the country, including the U.S. Catholic bishops, denounced the Trump administration’s enforcement of a “zero tolerance” policy that separates mothers from their children upon crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

On Wednesday, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued a presidential statement decrying the policy – which is meant to deter illegal immigration – as “immoral.”

The U.S. bishops have previously rejected the policy, and in a statement earlier this month said, “Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.”

According to new government reports, more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents since the Trump administration began enforcement of the policy in April.

During his interview with ABC News, Bannon singled out Pope Francis as the cause of the migrant “crisis” in Europe.

“That’s why you have a new government in Italy,” he added, referring to the success of the anti-immigrant Five Star and League parties following the country’s national elections this past March.

Bannon, who was ousted from his White House post in August of last year, went on to add that although he is a Catholic, “the pope is not – is not infallible when it comes to public policy and that’s a public policy issue.”

As the former head of right-wing news site Breitbart, this is not the first time Bannon has sparked controversy by faulting the Catholic Church for its defense of migrants and refugees.

In September of last year, he suggested the U.S. bishops have financial and other self-interested reasons for supporting DACA, the federal program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors from deportation.

By Christopher White for CRUX
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