Things That Matter

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

Julián Castro is a huge underdog in the crowded Democratic field of presidential hopefuls. He knows it and has never shied away from that fact. It’s also the reason that he’s still in the race. From the start of his campaign, Castro, the only Latino in the race, has run on the platform of giving a voice to those Americans who have been counted out, kinda like himself.

“If there is one thing that has distinguished my campaign is that I’ve spoken to the most vulnerable, the often voiceless in this country and I haven’t been afraid to speak up for the poor because too often Democrats talk about the middle class but somewhere along the way we forgot to speak up for the poor,” Castro says. “I’m doing both of those things.”

Castro believes in this and isn’t going to let polls or political pundits stop him from campaigning. Unfortunately for Castro, voters won’t get to see him on the Democratic debate stage in Atlanta this week. This due to the fact that he didn’t reach the polling criteria of 3 percent or higher in four approved polls or 5 percent in two early state polls. 

Despite this, Castro isn’t going away or shutting down his campaign. He’s getting “real” with voters and in recent weeks has called out the Democratic establishment for its primary process.

The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama has run one of the most progressive campaigns of any Democrat currently in the field. When it’s come to issues like housing, immigration, and even animal cruelty, Castro has released some of the most comprehensive and well-received polices. He says that’s because these plans aren’t just talking points but real problems that Americans across this country are facing. 

“We’re trying to connect the dots with policies that match up with the way people actually live. People don’t live in silos and we shouldn’t make policies that reflect that,” Castro said. “I learned that very early on as a councilman and a mayor and I saw that as Housing Secretary, it’s not enough to address the issue of education, housing or criminal justice reform, you gotta address everything.”

For Castro, that also means addressing issues within his own Democratic establishment. Last week, he criticized the Democratic nominating process, particularly the role of Iowa and New Hampshire in determining the nominee, two states where the electorates are mostly white. 

Credit: @JulianCastro / Twitter

He told MSNBC that the two states are not “reflective of the United States as a whole, certainly not reflective of the Democratic Party, and I believe that other states should have their chance.” While there was some criticism of those comments, Castro did begin an important conversation that he feels needed to be addressed. 

“Democrats know that I’m telling the truth here. We’ve been justifyingly calling out Republicans who have been trying everything they can to suppress the vote of people of color. But at the same time, we start our presidential nomination process in two states that have very little people of color, ” Castro said. “People know that I’m speaking the truth here.”

Castro doesn’t view himself as the “Latino candidate” nor has he ever used his background to gain some votes. He’s says that he’s running the campaign on the basis that someone like him can represent everybody. 

Credit: @JulianCastro / Twitter

While he might not be on the upcoming debate stage or at top of most polls, Castro is being seen and his message of uplifting forgotten communities is being heard. Castro is optimistic about his chances and his supporters are standing by his side through it all. 

“We’re gonna work like crazy to shine a light on the people and the problems that are out there that voters want solved,” Castro said. “I’ve gone to places that few other candidates have gone. I’ve spoken to the homeless, those in jails, I just went into an ICE check-in for a migrant that was seeking asylum. We’re going to keep uplifting the lives of people who have been forgotten.”

Castro finds relief from the perils of a long campaign when he’s back in his home in San Antonio. He is rarely home while campaigning but when he is you can find him hanging out with his family, including his two children, Christian and Carina. It’s those moments he says that puts everything in perspective and in some way serves as a reminder of the importance of continuing his campaign. 

“What I hope that young Latinos and Latinas are seeing in this campaign is that they can compete with anyone, anywhere, on any stage  I haven’t run this campaign on the basis to vote for me because I’m Latino but someone like me can represent everybody.”

READ: It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

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American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Monday, American Latinos United (ALU) made the announcement that it would be forming a committee to create a new super PAC, “focused on defeating President Donald Trump by activating Latino voters in key battleground states.” As the 2020 election cycles draw closer and closer, political groups are already looking to key battleground states where Latino voters will play a key role in determining the next president. 

Backed by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and entrepreneur Fernando Espuelas, the new committee will be targeting Latinos in six key battleground states: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The ALU does not appear to be backing or supporting any specific Democratic candidate as of now. Instead, it will be placing emphasis on Latino voter engagement in these key states. 

This year will be a historic one for Latinos as for the first time ever, they will become the largest minority group of potential voters in the United States. The ALU wants to be sure that a majority of those eligible to vote actually do so. 

The 2020 election has a lot on the line besides just the presidential nomination. For Latinos, issues like healthcare, immigration, and the economy are some of the biggest factors they’ll be considering when heading to the ballot box this November. The ALU plans to energize Latino voters on these issues through specifically targeted technology, culturally appropriate messaging, and on-the-ground work to turn out voters. The committee will also have ads that will be played in English and Spanish across traditional media and digital platforms.

The ALU points to the 2016 election as an example of the importance of having Latinos come out and vote. The number of eligible voters of Latino background who did not cast a ballot in 2016 was overwhelmingly high, 14 million, considering the anti-Latino sentiment heard from Trump on the campaign trail. 

According to the Pew Research Center, over half of the 27 million eligible Hispanic voters stayed home. That may be credited to not only Trump but a lack of enthusiasm when it came to Hillary Clinton. This year hopes to be different as 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2020, compared with 30 million African-Americans.

“President Trump captured about 30 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2016. If he falls under that threshold in 2020, key battleground states will be out of his reach,” Espuelas said in a press release. “With the Electoral College in play, we intend to empower Latinos in battleground states to defeat Trump with their votes.”

The ALU called out President Trump and his administration for “incompetence and corruption.” It warns if voter turnout this year is anything like 2016, Trump will surely be re-elected. 

In advancing its message, the ALU hopes to also hope to connect with Latinos on single-issue voters that have previously not voted Democrat. In doing so, they will also educate voters on the “moral danger that Trump represents” and the consequences of reelection victory for his administration. 

 “Our country is on a precipice. President Trump’s incompetence and corruption are threatening our democracy and the American way of life,” Villaraigosa said. “Latino voters can make all the difference – if we know how to engage and activate the millions of people that sit out most elections. Through ALU, we’ll connect deeply with our community and create the mechanisms to turn out the vote in historic proportions.”

While most Latinos tend to vote Democratic, that shouldn’t make their vote an automatic given. Many Latinos have cast doubt over the party in recent years, some even pointing anger towards former President Obama who deported more than three million undocumented immigrants. 

The ALU wants to change the narrative on the 2020 election not being just about a party but about having your voice heard. The 2018 midterm elections saw some momentum when it came to the Latino vote as about 40.4 percent of eligible Latino voters came out to the polls, about 11.7 million voters in total, according to the Pew Research Center

“American Latinos United can stop him. We are everywhere. All across the country—around kitchen tables, in-office conference rooms, on busways and buses, in town halls— American Latinos are talking, planning, gathering force and strength,” the ALU website reads. “We have the power to stop Trump. And we can shine the unwavering light of truth on the corrupt Republican party that enables him.

READ: A Man Suspected Of Raping And Killing A 6-Year-Old Girl Was Burned Alive By Angry Residents In Chiapas

Joe Biden Says That Undocumented Immigrants ‘Have To Learn How To Speak English’ To Become Citizens

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Joe Biden Says That Undocumented Immigrants ‘Have To Learn How To Speak English’ To Become Citizens

joebiden / Instagram

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is coming under fire once again after he casually suggested that a requirement for U.S. citizenship should be fluency in the English language. The United States does not have an official language, prompting critics to question Biden as to why English fluency should ever be considered a requirement. Biden had the floor when he was addressing supporters at a campaign stop in Iowa when he touched on his immigration plan. Biden’s primary talking point to address immigration issues is to emphasize a “pathway to citizenship.” President Trump’s 2020 Campaign Deputy Director of Communications, Zach Parkinson, shared a video of Biden’s campaign stop in Iowa, where Biden’s “pathway to citizenship” details the language requirement not listed anywhere else in Biden’s campaign.

While Biden’s formal immigration campaign doesn’t include a language requirement, this isn’t the first time he’s let a remark like that slip. 

During a campaign speech in Iowa, Joe Biden said he would enact the policy change “within a matter of months of being elected President.”

CREDIT: @AZACHPARKINSON / TWITTER

When Biden talks about the “pathway to citizenship” he envisions, he remarks that “like every other person who’s come here, they have to pass, they have to learn how to speak English, they have to demonstrate they pay their taxes…But it’s a pathway.” Passing the citizenship test is a feat in of itself because the verbal portion of the test is administered in English. If Biden is talking about how undocumented immigrants “have to pass” that test, it’s indisputable. If he’s, in fact, saying that undocumented immigrants “have to pass” culturally speaking, he is flat out wrong.

The United States does not have an official language. There are plenty of citizens born or naturalized into America who live in communities that don’t necessitate English fluency to thrive. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go visit Hialeah or Little Havana in Miami and get yourself lost because even the street signs are in Spanish. 

In November, Biden cited that undocumented immigrants should “learn the language” as a requirement to becoming a U.S. citizen.

CREDIT: @AZACHPARKINSON / TWITTER

“The deal is, that, if you want to be an American citizen, you gotta come out of the shadows,” Biden told a crowd before his formal immigration plan was laid out. He goes on to call his version of a “pathway to citizenship,” “earned citizenship.” He also insidiously chooses to characterize undocumented immigrants by telling his supporters, “By the way, they didn’t come across the Rio Grande. They came on a visa and they overstayed their visa… You get in the process of doing what everyone else has had to do who has come. Learn the language, etc, you go through the same process.”

Biden’s official “roadmap to citizenship” only includes three requirements, none of which is English fluency.

SCREENSHOT. DIGITAL IMAGE. JOEBIDEN.COM. 7 JANUARY 2019.

There are 12 million people living and working in the United States without documentation. On his campaign page, Biden calls them, “our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. They are our neighbors, co-workers, and members of our congregations and Little League teams. They contribute in countless ways to our communities, workforce, and economy.” Biden’s 2020 online message is clear: he “will aggressively advocate for legislation that creates a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check.” 

When Biden speaks at campaign events, however, it seems less clear. These aren’t brothers and mothers who work to become the fabric of society. They are immigrants who take advantage of the visa system and overstay their welcome. They are choosing to stay “in the shadows” when they really need to do what “everyone else” has allegedly had to do and “learn how to speak English” and “earn” their citizenship. 

Children of these same immigrants are speaking out against Biden.

CREDIT: @JUANSAAA / TWITTER

My parents have worked over the past 19 years, paid their taxes, and given back to their community. They’re in their late 50’s and are integral to the fabric of Florida. You’re going to deny them citizenship over a language requirement should they come out of the shadows?” asked Twitter DACA advocate Juan Escalante. 

The Biden campaign has responded to Politico journalist Alex Thompson to say that “the verbal portion of the naturalization exam is administered in English (except for in very select cases) and our plan offers English language education support.”

READ: AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party