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Julian Castro on Immigration

Democratic Presidential Challenger (withdrawn); former HUD Secretary

 


We're not going to give up DACA, or any protections

Q [to V.P. Biden]: The Obama administration deported 3 million people. Did you do anything to prevent those?

Joe BIDEN: What Latinos should look at is comparing [Obama policy to Trump policy]. We didn't lock people up in cages. We didn't separate families. [Obama] came along with the DACA program. No one had ever done that before. [Obama] wanted to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented. This is a president who's done a great deal.

CASTRO: My problem with Vice President Biden is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, oh, I was there, and every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, well, that was the president. I was the first candidate to put forward an immigration plan. We're not going to give up DACA. We're not going to give up protections for anybody.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Must decriminalize border crossing to stop family separation

Castro: The only way that we're going to guarantee that we don't have family separations is to repeal Section 1325 of the Immigration Nationality Act. That is the law that this president is using to incarcerate migrant parents and then physically separate them from their children. My immigration plan would make sure that we put undocumented immigrants who haven't committed a serious crime on a pathway to citizenship.

V.P.Biden: If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Always for secure border and apprehending criminals

Q: When you were mayor of San Antonio you called for increased border security measures and praised the Obama administration's actions. Why did you praise that policy but when the Trump administration adopts similar language and policies, you're hypercritical of them?

CASTRO: I talked about people who committed serious crimes, dangerous criminals. If there are people who have committed serious felonies in the United States who are immigrants or who come to the border, I have always consistently said that those people should be apprehended, that they should be deported. I haven't changed that at all. I don't have an issue with maintaining a secure border. What I have an issue with is separating little children from their parents.

Source: CBS Face the Nation interviews in 2019 , Jul 28, 2019

Independent immigration courts will speed up asylum process

What we're talking about is doing things like that 21st Century Marshall Plan so that we can actually stem the flow of people here because they can find safety and opportunity at home. We're talking about creating an independent immigration court system with more judges and more support staff so that we can actually get these asylum claims resolved and people are not waiting in the United States in limbo for years and years.
Source: NBC News Meet the Press 2019 interview , Jun 30, 2019

Can't take in everyone seeking asylum but can do more

We have a system to consider asylum claims based on certain criteria. Can we take everyone? Nobody has called for unlimited number of people coming to this country, but I do believe that we should expand that significantly, and we're big enough to do that. I refuse to believe, because it's not true, that the people that are coming because they're desperate, lot of them women and children, represent some sort of national security threat or cultural threat to this country. That's bull.
Source: ABC This Week 2019 interview , Jun 30, 2019

Supports L.A. & Chicago in non-cooperation with ICE

Q: Los Angeles and Chicago have said that they're going to direct their police departments to not assist ICE in rounding up immigrants. Would you encourage police departments to follow suit in other cities?

CASTRO: Yes, I would, because I believe that local law enforcement should do its job, and federal law enforcement has its own job to do. So, I'm glad to see that Los Angeles and Chicago are doing that.

Source: CNN "SOTU" 2019 interview series , Jun 30, 2019

No to "open borders"; increase number of refugees admitted

We can take in 110,000 refugees annually. Right now, we're only taking in between 30,000 and 40,000 refugees, I would like to see that go up to the statutory limit. Nobody has called for unlimited number of people coming to this country, but I do believe that we should expand that significantly. I refuse to believe, because it's not true, that the people that are coming because they're desperate, lot of them women and children, represent some sort of national security threat.
Source: ABC This Week 2019 interview series , Jun 30, 2019

Get rid of metering asylum applicants at the border

Q: Oscar Martinez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, died trying to cross the river to ask for asylum in this country. Your thoughts?

A: Watching that image of Oscar and his daughter, Valeria, is heartbreaking. It should also piss us all off. If I were president today, I would sign an executive order that would get rid of Trump's zero-tolerance policy, the remain in Mexico policy, and this metering policy is basically what prompted Oscar and Valeria to make that risky swim across the river. They had been playing games with people who are coming and trying to seek asylum at our ports of entry. On day one, I would do that executive order that would address metering. And then I would follow that up in my first 100 days with immigration reform that would honor asylum claims, that would put undocumented immigrants, as long as they haven't committed a serious crime, on a pathway to citizenship.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Get rid of section 1325: stop criminalizing desperation

My plan includes getting rid of Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to go back to the way we used to treat this when somebody comes across the border, not to criminalize desperation, to treat that as a civil violation. We see all of this horrendous family separation. They use that law, Section 1325, to justify under the law separating little children from their families. I want to challenge every single candidate on this stage to support the repeal of Section 1325.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Decriminalizing illegal crossings is way we used to do this

Q: Beto O'Rourke said he disagreed with plan to decriminalize illegal border crossings. He says there needs to be a legal mechanism so that authorities can charge suspected human traffickers and drug smugglers.

Castro: We already have another legal mechanism to do that. I'm talking about repealing Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which simply refers to people who cross the border. Between 1929 and the early 2000s, we actually treated it as a civil violation. This is not something radical. If somebody comes here, and they are doing human trafficking or drug trafficking, we have laws that we can charge them with.

I'm disappointed in Congressman O'Rourke's stance, because the only way that we're going to effectively make sure that we're not separating little children from their families is to repeal Section 1325. I would absolutely go back to the way that we used to treat this. That would be more effective, smarter and more humane.

Source: CNN State of the Union 2019 interview , Jun 23, 2019

Decriminalizing border crossings won't apply to smuggling

Q: Julian Castro's immigration plan calls for the repeal of a law that makes it a crime to enter the U.S. illegally. Do you agree with that?

Rep. Beto O'ROURKE: I don't know if it should be repealed, but I think that we should acknowledge that most of those who are arriving at our border right now pose no threat or harm to this country. But if somebody is attempting to smuggle human beings or illegal drugs into this country, I want to make sure that we have the legal mechanism necessary to detain them.

CASTRO: We already have another legal mechanism to do that. I'm talking about repealing Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which simply refers to people who cross the border. Between 1929 and the early 2000s, we actually treated it as a civil violation. This is not something radical. If somebody comes here, and they are doing human trafficking or drug trafficking, we have laws that we can charge them with. I'm not suggesting that we let those people off the hook.

Source: CNN "SOTU" 2019 interview series , Jun 23, 2019

Don't separate kids and families; don't jail asylum seekers

We're not going to separate little children from their families ... we're not going to routinely put people in detention. Now if somebody has committed a crime, then of course you're still going to sometimes have the ability to detain somebody. But let's just say a mom that has come here with her little baby, I would not incarcerate those folks. I would not treat them as criminals.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , May 24, 2019

Current "merit" system says only certain people have merit

I'd ask folks to think about what we consider a "skilled" job today. Do you think that you could go and spend 10 hours picking a crop in the fields of California? Do you think that you could spend 10 hours in 102 degrees, underneath the blaring sun on a roof in Texas? That is skilled labor. But this merit system that the president has set up says that only certain people have merit.
Source: NPR Morning Edition: Election 2020 Special Series , May 24, 2019

Reverse Muslim ban; Marshall Plan for Central America

In a Medium post, Castro outlined his extensive immigration policy, which includes reversing Trump policies such as the Muslim ban, spending on a southern border wall and cuts to refugee programs. Castro proposed a 21st Century Marshall Plan for Central America to focus on stabilizing the countries with the largest number of migrants coming to the U.S.

Castro wants an overhaul of the pathway to citizenship for immigrants, especially for DACA recipients. He criticized a policy shift under President George W. Bush that allows immigrants to be charged in the criminal court rather than civil. Castro wants to split ICE in half, and keep "national security functions such as human and drug trafficking and anti-terrorism investigations within the Department of Homeland Security."

Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 22, 2019

Asylum seekers have the right to be heard

We need to stop playing games with people who are seeking asylum. I don't think that we should treat them as criminals. Until about 2004, we treated somebody crossing the border as a civil violation, not a criminal one. They still have to come to court. We still monitor them. We still have the option to deport them. Most people who are seeking asylum may not get it, but some will, and we should hear their claims.

I don't believe the narrative that people who are coming to our southern border, these families, women and children, that they represent a threat to our country. We should choose compassion even as we maintain a secure border. When it comes to our DREAMers and it comes to other undocumented immigrants, I believe in a pathway to citizenship. That includes not only DREAMers, but people with temporary protected status, whom this president has put a target on their back.

Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 11, 2019

Treat immigration as civil, not criminal, issue

"We must end the three and ten year bars that require undocumented individuals--who otherwise qualify for legal status--to leave the country and their families behind, in order to attain citizenship," Castro wrote. Castro wants to eliminate Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The section makes it a criminal offense to enter the U.S. illegally, enter into a marriage to avoid immigration laws and create a "commercial enterprise" to avoid immigration laws. "The truth is," Castro wrote, "immigrants seeking refuge in our country aren't a threat to national security. Migration shouldn't be a criminal justice issue. It's time to end this draconian policy and return to treating immigration as a civil--not a criminal--issue."
Source: Townhall.com on "Open Borders" , Apr 3, 2019

We can have compassion AND border security

Just two generations after my grandmother came across this border, one of her grandsons, my brother Joaquin, is a member of Congress, and I'm running for President. Our nation has always been a country of immigrants, folks who have made a profound and positive difference to our nation's progress. We can have a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Don't believe Trump's lies--we don't have to choose between border security and being compassionate. We can have both.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website JulianForTheFuture.com , Feb 11, 2019

Against funding border wall

According to his campaign website, Castro said, "It's about separating our country from the rest of the world and cowering in fear. This is not how most Americans want us to behave--neither building a wall nor shutting down the government. Let us be clear: Any bill to fund the government must not include any funding for a wall at our southern border. Democrats in Congress should not buckle to the tyrant's demands."
Source: Townhall.com: "The 2020 Democrats" (presidential hopefuls) , Feb 4, 2019

Compassion for refugees, pathway for those here

This policy of separating children from their parents and the terrible way that Customs and Border Protection has managed its responsibilities, including the deaths of two children within the last few weeks. That's a real tragedy. I don't believe that we should have family detention for people that are seeking asylum or refugee status, so that we should develop other ways to ensure that people are processed, that we're able to keep track of them in the country. I would make sure that we push as hard as possible for comprehensive immigration reform so that for the people who are already here, if they've been law abiding, if they pay a fine, that they can get an earned path to citizenship.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interviews: 2020 Democratic primary , Jan 13, 2019

Secure the border by using technology, not a wall

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 12, 2019

Support comprehensive immigration reform

Mexican President Felipe Calderon expressed his appreciation to Mayor Julian Castro for San Antonio's pro-Mexico relationship, especially in business investments, in a meeting that lasted nearly an hour Monday evening. Castro declared support for comprehensive immigration reform and listed business investments San Antonio companies have made in Mexico.

Castro said afterward that he cited as examples H-E-B, which operates 36 Mexico stores, and Valero Energy Corp.'s dealings with Mexico's government-owned energy company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or PEMEX. Castro said he told Calderon that Texas has "a better approach to immigration policy than other hard-line states. I said, 'We have a more reasoned approach that can provide a better opportunity for a compromise'" on U.S. immigration reform.

Source: David Hendricks in San Antonio Express-News , Aug 9, 2011

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Other big-city mayors on Immigration: Julian Castro on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Jan 31, 2020