Santorum: My Grandfather Left Family To Immigrate To America, So It’s OK To Break Up Families

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"Santorum: My Grandfather Left Family To Immigrate To America, So It’s OK To Break Up Families"

Rick Santorum regularly touts the importance of families on the campaign trail, but during a town hall event in New Hampshire this afternoon, the former Pennsylvania senator argued that he would break up immigrant families who entered the country illegally. “It happens every day, we take fathers and mothers out of their families if they break the law and [undocumented immigrants] shouldn’t be treated any better than American citizens who break the law and being separated from their families,” he explained, before noting that his grandfather also left his family in Italy in order to enter the United States legally:

SANTORUM: My grandfather made sacrifices. He lived in this country five years without his family…So when I hear people say, ‘well, people have lived here a long time, and they’ve played by the rules and we don’t want to separate families.’ Well, my grandfather separated from his family. Why? Because America was worth it.

Several minutes later, however, in response to a question about his opposition to same-sex marriage, Santorum touted his support for so-called traditional families. “I think family is important and I think marriage is important for children to have strong families as the foundational element of our community,” he said. “Absolutely. I think it’s essential for the economy.” Watch the contradiction:

Santorum relied on a pithier explanation of his immigration policy in Iowa, telling voters in December, “Families should be broken up when the law is broken, which includes illegal immigration.”

Setting aside the heartlessness of Santorum’s broken families policy, it’s also a horrible waste of money. Thousands of immigrant children already languish in the U.S. foster care system after their parents were deported. Estimates also suggest that deporting every undocumented immigrant in the country would cost a massive $285 billion over five years.

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