(Harrisburg) – On a visit to Harrisburg Monday, Republican Congressman and US Senate candidate Lou Barletta faced questions over the Trump administration’s approach to immigration on the southern border.
The longtime immigration hardliner said he opposes family separation–but likes the zero-tolerance approach.
Those positions have been somewhat fluid lately. Barletta has supported President Donald Trump turn for turn throughout the immigration debate of the last few weeks.
He backed the administration’s enforcement policy that led to thousands of children being taken from their parents. And while he said he is against family separation, he is still advocating further crackdowns.
“[Trump] saw the zero tolerance–which I agree, we should have zero tolerance, that’s how you stop illegal immigration–he saw the consequences from it, and then issued an executive order to have compassion for the families that are being separated,” Barletta said.
He continued, “I think the importance of the rule of law in the country has created this problem of illegal immigration. And it becomes an emotional issue. So let’s fix the parts that we can and have compassion for the children and families.”
Immigration votes may come up in the House this week, and Barletta said he would likely support a potential, narrow bill limiting the time the government can keep families in custody.
Barletta is up against incumbent Democrat Bob Casey in the Senate race.
Casey, who has unequivocally denounced the administration’s immigration policies, is far ahead of Barletta in fundraising.
Asked if he’s concerned, Barletta said he’ll never have as much money as Casey, but he doesn’t think he needs it.