CNN's Chris Cuomo grills Joe Arpaio on why he supports separating immigrant children from their parents

Chris Cuomo grills Joe Arpaio
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/CNN)

It's getting hard to find people — other than Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — who are willing to publicly defend the Trump administration's new policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Even President Trump (falsely) blames Democrats for his own family-separation policy. So CNN's Chris Cuomo invited Joe Arpaio — the former Arizona sheriff, current U.S. Senate candidate, and convict pardoned by Trump — on Thursday night's show to stand up for "zero tolerance."

"I understand separating the kids from their families," Arpaio said. "What about the thousands and thousands of people I locked up in my 58-year law enforcement, taking the parents out of the houses for drugs or whatever, leaving the kids separated?" "Those were serious crimes, not a misdemeanor of crossing the border undocumented," Cuomo pointed out. Arpaio said that if he's elected to the Senate, he'll work to make the laws "tougher," faulted Central America and Mexico for not stopping people from migrating, and blamed the parents for bringing their kids across the border illegally.

"Now for the kids?" Arpaio said. "I feel sorry for them." Cuomo said if he felt sorry for the kids, why not keep them with their families, and if Arpaio had a problem with young immigrants coming illegally to the U.S. for work, why not go after the "fat cat" factory workers who hire them. "All I'm saying is this, Joe: Why are we being the harshest on the weakest?" he asked. "You know a lot of these people are trying to get asylum, they're fleeing persecution, they're looking for a better life, and they're getting treated like they're all felons when they come across. That's a policy decision — the law doesn't make you have to do it this way." Watch below. Peter Weber

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