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Julián Castro: A Presidential Candidate Taking One Of The Strongest Stands For Migrants At The Southern Border

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, 44, has emerged as one of the most vocal leaders when it comes to border decriminalization. Similar to other Democratic presidential hopefuls, Castro has advocated for unauthorized entry into the U.S. to be decriminalized. Under the current law, it’s a misdemeanor the first time an individual illegally crosses the border into the U.S., a crime that carries up to six months in prison. Castro and fellow Democratic candidates are calling for that misdemeanor to be a civil offense instead of a criminal offense. But Castro wants to take it one step further and would like to see criminal reentries to be decriminalized as well.

The former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary during the Obama administration says that Congress should repeal the law that makes it a felony to reenter the U.S. after being deported. 

Credit: @thejasonhopkins / Twitter

Castro has long made the argument that Congress should separate immigration enforcement from the criminal justice system. One of the biggest reasons behind this stance is the way the Trump administration has used this to systematically separate migrant families. 

“I’d like to see those being treated as a civil matter,” Castro told the HuffPost. “I don’t believe in criminalizing desperation.”

It’s currently a misdemeanor for a person to illegally cross the border their first time but it becomes a felony if caught crossing two or more times. If found guilty of illegal reentry or entering illegally after being deported, a person can be punished by up to two years in prison. Sentences of up to 20 years can be handed down to those with prior crimes.

Castro feels that the current immigration laws give too much power to the White House over migrants.

Credit: @kasiedc / Twitter

Castro saw firsthand last year the power that the Trump administration has when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. He says the separation of families at the border is an abuse of power by the White House and there has been a building hostility toward migrant communities since President Trump took office.  

“The terrible way that this administration has treated people over the last two years has prompted many of us to thoroughly think through the best way to respond to a broken immigration system and to make sure that children and families are not treated the same way in the future,” Castro told HuffPost. He says by revoking both laws criminalizing border-crossing violations would “close off every opportunity that any future administration may have to exercise such cruelty.”

Beyond just decriminalization, Castro wants to create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who “live, work, and raise families” in the U.S., according to his campaign’s immigration platform. Another controversial move for Castro is wanting to change Trump’s cutback in refugee admissions, stop the 287(g) agreements between ICE and local law enforcement that produces more illegal immigrant arrests, and end ICE altogether. 

Many aren’t too happy about Castro’s stance as some see it as advocating for open borders. 

Credit: @joncoopertweets / Twitter

While most of the Democratic presidential candidates have called for the decriminalization of unauthorized crossings, the idea has been lambasted by some from both the left and right. Critics reason that Castro’s proposed policy change would only attract more illegal immigration, worsening the crisis at the U.S. border.

“It annoys me to no end when these politicians start throwing out these facile solutions,” Sarah Saldaña, the former director of ICE in the Obama administration, told the  Dallas Morning News. “You have it on the books and either you exercise your prosecutorial discretion or not, but at least it’s a tool in your toolbox.”

But Castro doesn’t agree that his policies will lead to open borders or lack of law enforcement when it comes to illegal immigration. He says we already have enough enforcement at our borders with advanced technology at our disposal.

“Nobody’s talking about open borders,” Castro said last Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “We have 654 miles of fencing, we have thousands of personnel at the border, we have planes, we have helicopters, we have guns, we have boats, we have security cameras. …That’s just a right-wing talking point.”

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

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President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

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President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

January 22, 2021

The Trump administration spent years trying to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Obama-era program was important in helping young undocumented adults who came to the country when they were children. President Joe Biden has restored it.

President Joe Biden has restored DACA to its original 2012 form.

President Biden was with President Obama when DACA was passed to protect the young adults who benefit from the program. President Biden’s executive order is giving hundreds of thousands of young adults protections and the ability to work once again.

“This memorandum, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) guidance, deferred the removal of certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, have obeyed the law, and stayed in school or enlisted in the military,” reads the memorandum posted on the White House website. “DACA and associated regulations permit eligible individuals who pass a background check to request temporary relief from removal and to apply for temporary work permits. DACA reflects a judgment that these immigrants should not be a priority for removal based on humanitarian concerns and other considerations and that work authorization will enable them to support themselves and their families, and to contribute to our economy, while they remain.”

Original: During the 2020 election, Latinos were a massive electoral voting bloc. In fact, for the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbered the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are now 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. 

And, Latinos helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. So it can be expected that the community has high expectations for Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises of immigration reform.

During a recent speech about his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden outlined his priorities once he’s sworn in on January 20th, and said he would “immediately” send an immigration bill to congress.

Joe Biden promises swift action on immigration reform as soon as he takes office.

Over the weekend, President-Elect Joe Biden promised he would take swift action when it comes to immigration reform and rolling back many of the cruel and dangerous policies put into place by the Trump administration.

“I will introduce an immigration bill immediately,” he said in a news conference on Friday.

Although he didn’t go into detail regarding the proposed legislation, he’s previously committed to ending Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, and that he wants a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and an increase in guest worker permits to help bring undocumented agricultural workers – many of whom are now considered “essential workers” – out of the shadows.

Biden had already promised an immigration overhaul within the first 100 days of his presidency but this commitment definitely increases the pressure on him and congress to get things done.

Biden also said his justice department will investigate the policy of child separation.

During the same press conference, Biden said that his Justice Department will determine responsibility for the family separation program, which led to more than 2,600 children being taken from caregivers after crossing the U.S. southern border, and whether it was criminal.

“There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible, and whether or not the responsibility is criminal,” Biden said. That determination will be made by his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, he added.

During the campaign, Biden finally took responsibility for many of his administration’s immigration failures.

Nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief,” Obama deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

But as part of that administration, Joe Biden is also complicit. That’s why during the campaign he seemed to acknowledge at least some of the pain the duo caused.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s immigration plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

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Julián Castro Calls Out Republican Officials And Base For Enabling Trump Inciting Violence At Capitol

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Julián Castro Calls Out Republican Officials And Base For Enabling Trump Inciting Violence At Capitol

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Americans are still trying to wrap their heads around the violence at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Julián Castro is putting the blame for what happened directly on the Republican elected officials and base that emboldened President Donald Trump to speak the way he did.

Julián Castro is not mincing words about the language that led to the storm of the Capitol building.

Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama Administration, is speaking out against Republicans. Castro has been in politics with his twin brother Joaquin for years and understands the impact President Trump’s words have had. He is also not shying away from placing blame on those who enabled the president.

“I think they have different reasons [for not speaking against Trump],” Castro told Alicia Menendez, the host of “American Voices.” “For some of them, they are still trying to curry favor with Trump’s base. I put folks like Josh Hawley [R-Mo.] and Ted Cruz [R-Texas] and the other senators who continued to object to the certification of the election in that camp. Some of them also know that it would indict them. [Also] people like Mick Mulvaney, who stood by while Donald Trump was inciting hate and in some cases violence against immigrants, against other groups. So, they don’t want to face that themselves. Others truly hold the beliefs that Donald Trump holds, which are bigoted and racist.”

Castro has been raising the alarm about President Trump’s rhetoric.

In 2019, a man drove to El Paso, Texas with the sole purpose of shooting and killing as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as possible. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, killed 23 people and injured 23 more. A manifesto written by the shooter included a lot of the language pushed by President Trump.

According to the manifesto, the El Paso shooter wanted to stop the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” President Trump had spent months telling supporters at rallies that there was an invasion of immigrants along the southern border.

“You referred to countries as shitholes. You urged American Congresswomen to ‘go back’ to where they came from. You called immigrants rapists,” Castro said in the ad. “As we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you. Because they look like me. They look like my family. Words have consequences. Ya basta.”

The riot really puts the video of Trump supporters trying to run a Biden bus off the road in another light.

During the 2020 campaign cycle, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was going to an event in Texas. While on the freeway, a cluster of Trump supporters started to try to run the campaign bus off of the road. One of the campaign workers car was sideswiped during the incident that drew criticism from some.

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., celebrated the caravan of aggressive Trump supporters. During a rally in Opa-locka, Florida, Sen. Rubio could barely contain his excitement over the video.

“I saw yesterday a video of these people in Texas,” Rubio told a largely maskless rally in Florida. “Did you see it? All the cars on the road, we love what they did.”

After the attack on the Capitol, Sen. Rubio quickly changed his tune about the mob President Trump has incited to violence. Though, he still made excuses for some as only Sen. Rubio can do when it comes to hedging his bets to protect his political career.

“It’s something else as well to see that for some of these politicians, they had to feel personally in danger, personally in danger themselves, before they could see clearly,” Castro said in the interview. “You expect more from people in a position of public trust than that. I guess, at the end of the day, it’s better late than never. It’s also still clear that a lot of those Republicans, both elected officials and the Republican base, still will not hold Donald Trump to account for everything that he has done. To me, what that means, is that the Republican Party as we know it should not exist as a party. It needs a fundamental transformation or a different party.”

READ: Julián Castro Is Bringing Back His ‘Adiós Trump’ Shirts To Raise Money For Dreamers

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