In his first major interview since leaving the Trump administration, former White House strategist Steve Bannon said that the Catholic Church has an "economic interest in unlimited illegal immigration."
"Unable to really — to come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches," he said during the interview with Charlie Rose, to be aired on 60 Minutes on Sunday.
"It's obvious on the face of it," Bannon said. "They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration."
A number of Catholic leaders, including prominent Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, have criticized the president's immigration policies, including his decision this week to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects almost 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation. Bannon, a Catholic, said in the interview that the Catholic Church "has been terrible about this."
"As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine," he said. "This is not doctrine at all. I totally respect the pope and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they're just another guy with an opinion."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Archdiocese of New York and will update with any comment.
In the interview, Bannon that he disagreed with the president's decision to end the DACA policy, but that he understands "how he struggled with it" and that "he's giving the possibility of a legislative thing."
"He said even last night in a tweet – even in a tweet, he would rethink it," the former strategist for the president said. "Trust me, the guys in the far right, the guys on the conservative side, are not happy with this."
The full interview with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes will air Sunday, Sept. 10.