Things That Matter

Julián Castro Did Not Hold Back When Democrats Debated Immigration During The First Debate

Since Julián Castro first announced his presidential bid in January, he’s been looking for a breakout moment in a crowded field of Democrats. Looks like he might have gotten it during the first Democratic Debate of the 2020 election season. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary and mayor of San Antonio, seized the stage when discussing immigration and his plan to overhaul it. It was a performance that might have just separated Castro from a crowded field of contenders.

There was a 2,400-percent surge in Google searches for Castro during and after the first 2020 Democratic debate show.

Credit:@juliancastro/Twitter

Up until this point, Castro has largely been known to most folks solely for being the only Latino candidate on the Democratic side. But things have quickly picked up for him and people are noticing. He’s released multiple policies since he announced his bid, shared his personal story and has a resume fit for a serious contender. But what he’s lacked is attention.

He finally got that on Wednesday night. As he shared the stage with 10 other Democratic hopefuls like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Castro finally had his moment.

“There was more excitement when he showed command in his voice and passion and compassion, which I think you need to have as president, so he really helped himself out.” Lawrence Romo, who organized a Democratic debate watch party in Castro’s hometown, told NBC News.

The highlight of the debate was Castro squaring off against fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke.

One of Castro’s strengths has been his immigration plan which he rolled out in April. On Wednesday, he took the chance to showcase it to a national audience. But it was one particular part of it that he sees as most important, his proposal to repeal a section of U.S. law that makes it a federal crime for migrants to cross the border unlawfully.

During the debate, Castro said it’s time 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.”

It was that policy, Section 1325 of Title 8 of the US Code, that had Castro and O’Rourke debating with one another. To this point, O’Rourke hasn’t considered repealing the policy because he feels that it might make it harder to prosecute drug smugglers and human traffickers.

Castro interrupted O’Rourke’s discussion about the deaths of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter, Valeria, migrants who died crossing the Rio Grande river.

Credit:roqplanas/Twitter

“I just think it’s a mistake, Beto. I think it’s a mistake,” Castro said. “I think that if you truly want to change the system, that we’ve got to repeal that section.”

O’Rourke responded saying that during his time in Congress he helped bring legislation that would guarantee the U.S. wouldn’t criminalize asylum seekers and refugees. Castro countered by saying that wasn’t good enough.

“I think that you should do your homework on this issue,” Castro said. “If you did your homework on this issue, you would know that we should repeal this section.”

The exchange between both candidates went viral and showed how serious of a contender Castro should be considered moving forward. While Castro has been polling in single digits so far, when it comes to Latinos, he’s registered among the top or at the top.

Being the only Latino in the Democratic field, Castro will now have to build off the momentum from his performance on the debate stage.

Credit:@selectedwisdom/Twitter

Castro has been clamoring for recognition and now he’s finally getting his moment in the spotlight. Many political pundits called him one of the biggest winners of the night, along with Warren and Booker.

Beyond immigration, Castro scored well when it came to healthcare issues like whether his health plan would cover abortion access. Castro said that his policy would cover it and that coverage wouldn’t just apply to women but also include “someone in the trans community.”

Many who never even heard of Castro before the evening took to Twitter to show their support for him. For some, just having a candidate they could relate to was enough to get their support.

“Tonight, I saw Julian Castro on that debate stage. He (like me) is the child of a single mother, coming from a Mexican immigrant family and was clearly the break-out. I got emotional. We NEED to get him to the NEXT debate,” comedian Cristela Alonzo wrote.

On a night where candidates like O’Rourke and Booker spoke Spanish as a way to connect with bilingual audiences, Castro didn’t need that. He instead saved his Spanish for his closing statement.

“On Jan. 20, 2021, we’ll say adios to Donald Trump.”

READ: Julián Castro Is Promising To Confront The Growing Housing Crisis In The US With An Ambitious Housing Plan

From DC To Iowa, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Yesterday’s Primary

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From DC To Iowa, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Yesterday’s Primary

Drew Angerer / Getty

With all that’s going on across the country – between a national health crisis and social unrest in response to the continued murders of unarmed Black men – you’d be forgiven for forgetting that we’re still in the middle of an election year. In fact, we’re still in the middle of a primary season. I know, it seems like 2020 has already dragged forever but we still have a ways to go.

Thankfully, despite all the challenges the country is facing, millions of voters still stepped out yesterday to let their voices be heard in the primary process.

In D.C., people lined up to vote despite protests, a pandemic, a city-wide curfew, and threats of police violence.

Credit: Stuart Garibaldi / Facebook

I anticipation of continued anti-police brutality demonstrations, all of D.C. was under a 7 p.m. curfew for a fifth consecutive day. However, Mayor Muriel Browser pointed out on social media and in interviews that residents would be allowed to cast ballots no matter the hour as long as they were in line before 8 p.m. Essential workers and journalists are also exempted from the city’s curfew.

More than four hours after polls closed for D.C.’s primary election, some District voters throughout the city were still waiting in line to cast their ballots, as the June 2 primary stretched into June 3.

In one part of the city, Ward 4, more than 100 people remained in line to vote as of 11:15 p.m. According to several elections volunteers however, most people at the polling center were sticking it out and “people are really positive and patient.”

The precinct is one of many across the city where people waited upwards of four hours to vote.

Police allegedly threatened D.C. voters who were in line to vote, despite being exempt from the city’s curfew.

The Mayor’s order made it very clear that as long as you were in line to vote before the 8 p.m. poll closing time, you would be able to cast your vote no matter the hour. Basically, anyone who was out past the 7 p.m. curfew to vote was exempt from the curfew order.

But according to some reports, some police didn’t seem to know or care about this exemption. Many took to Twitter to share that while waiting in line, police were harassing them and demanding they return home.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, Republicans finally drove racist and anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King from office.

King’s defeat was the top headline in Tuesday’s primaries. The nine-term congressman with a history of racist and anti-immigrant remarks was ousted after the GOP establishment lined up in support of his challenger, Randy Feenstra.

King’s defeat doesn’t necessarily mean a progressive candidate will take his place. Most pundits expect his Iowa district to remain in Republican control come the general election in November – Trump carried the district by nearly 30 points in 2016.

But getting rid of King is a win for all sides. He had a history of hate rhetoric targeting Black and Latino communities. But only after a New York Times interview in January 2019, in which the congressman questioned why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were offensive, did he finally lose the support of GOP leaders.

In 2013, in response to proposed immigration legislation, King said this of migrants, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds—and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Yesterday’s primaries also revealed challenges states face in the upcoming general election caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic presents states with two immense challenges: how to deal with the wave of mail ballots from voters who don’t wish to travel to their polling place in person, and how to accommodate those who do show up and follow the necessary medical precautions.

Yesterday, lines stretch on for hours. So states need to figure out how to safely accommodate the increase in voters and provide them with social-distant ways to vote.

Obviously, it’s fantastic that Americans are voting in record numbers. We need everyone to vote to be able to achieve the kind of change that we want and need to see in this country. But all of this means that come November, America may not know who wins the presidency on Nov. 3.

Julian Castro Launches People First Future PAC To Elect Young Progressives

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Julian Castro Launches People First Future PAC To Elect Young Progressives

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Julián Castro launched a new political action committee Thursday. The People First Future PAC is aimed at getting young Progressives elected to office on the state and local levels across the U.S.

Julián Castro is getting to work to help young Progressives get elected across the country.

The People First Future PAC is giving support and attention to politicians across the U.S. who are fighting for core Progressive values. These values include universal health care and an aggressive plan to combat climate change. Castro campaigned on these policies when he was running as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

Castro has been a vocal presence in the current demonstration to end police brutality.

The nation is witnessing large-scale peaceful protests across the country demanding justice after the death of George Floyd. Thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country demanding accountability within police departments for the deaths of unarmed Black people at the hands of police officers.

Castro made police brutality a central point of his campaign releasing a policy and naming victims during debates.

Part of Castro’s policing policy requires the use of body cams for all officers to increase transparency into police activities. The policy also looks at the training techniques to de-escalate a situation and require that those techniques be used to their fullest extent all recorded on body cams to guarantee compliance. Castro’s policy also calls on police officers “to identify themselves, issue a verbal warning, and give the suspect a reasonable amount of time to comply before the use of force.”

Here are some of the candidates that People First Future PAC:

Representative Lauren Underwood

Rep. Underwood represents Illinois’s 14th congressional district, which is west of Chicago. The young politician won her seat in the 2018 elections. She unseated Republican Randy Hultgren, who held the seat for 8 years. Underwood is one of the young, Progressive people of color who were elected into Congress during the 2018 elections as a rebuke against the Trump administration.

Candace Valenzuela

Valenzuela is in a runoff election against Kim Olson to represent Texas’s 24th congressional district. The district is just north of Dallas and Fort Worth and to the West of Plano. The school board member lost the primary race for the Dallas/Fort Worth suburb by 10 points in March. The runoff election is scheduled for July 14.

Check out the full list of politicians backed by Castro’s People First Future PAC here.

READ: Presidential Candidate Julián Castro Opens Up About Juggling His Fight For Latinos In His Campaign And Being A Dad