Mayor Pete Buttigieg calls zero-tolerance border policy a ‘disaster’

South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg gave a brief interview with Univision on Wednesday.

Buttigieg took the opportunity during the interview to criticize the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, which resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the border. He has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies.

Dana Sabraw, a district court judge appointed to the federal bench by former president George W. Bush, halted the family separation policy last year.

Speaking in Spanish, Buttigieg called the zero-tolerance policy a “disaster.”

“It is not just a political disaster; it is also a moral disaster for our country,” Buttigieg said. “It is clear that we have to reunify families.”

Buttigieg added that “we also know that this policy is not good for [economic] growth.”

Buttigieg, who has made his Christian faith central to his presidential campaign, is not alone in his criticism of the zero-tolerance policy. Faith leaders have been highly critical, including both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention. The policy has also been criticized locally from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith leaders.

“The unnecessary separation of children from their parents is immoral, uncompassionate, and harmful to children. In addition, I strongly disagree with the Attorney General’s decision not to allow asylum for those seeking protection from domestic or gang violence. Throughout our nation’s history, such protection has saved many lives and demonstrated our nation’s compassion for the vulnerable and persecuted,” says Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese.

Thousands of children remain separated from their parents. The Trump administration is taking the position that many should not be returned, arguing that “removing children from ‘sponsor’ homes to rejoin their parents ‘would present grave child welfare concerns.'” A federal judge his given the government six months to account for the separated children.

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