This week, Julián Castro became the first presidential hopeful to reveal his immigration plan.
In a Medium post titled “Putting people first,” Castro explained how his grandmother arrived in the United States after being separated from her dying mother. “I see her image in the children at our borders today,” he wrote. “Today, the photos and videos of immigrant children crying for their parents haunt our collective conscience. Donald Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy is responsible for children as young as infants being taken away from their parents, caged, and even ‘lost’ in the foster care system. In federal detention, several immigrant children whose parents have presented their families for the sanctuary of asylum have even died. We are heartbroken. We are outraged.”
Because immigrants have been failed by this country, Castro said, the next president of the United States must start by undoing all the harmful policies enacted during the Trump administration. Then, the legal immigration system needs to be repaired so that we can then make profound changes.
“We need a pathway to full and equal citizenship for the 11 million people living here peacefully, and contributing to our culture and our economy,” he wrote. “We must protect Dreamers and their parents, and folks under protected status who fled natural disasters, persecution, or violence. We need to revamp the visa system and end the backlog of people who are waiting to reunite with their families.
We must end the three and 10 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.”
He also emphasized the need to make immigration a civil issue. “The truth is, immigrants seeking refuge in our country aren’t a threat to national security,” he added. “Migration shouldn’t be a criminal justice issue.”
— Paola Ramos (@paoramos) April 2, 2019
With his immigration plan, some have said that Castro has set the bar for other Democratic candidates, who may, in turn, feel pressured to present more progressive immigration platforms. And while Castro is receiving praise for his plan, it’s important to note that this isn’t the only reason why Latinos will or won’t vote for him. Immigration is certainly important to our community, but we are a. not a monolith and b. not all equally concerned about this issue.
Still, it’s necessary to know how immigration activists – those who have and will continue to fight for the rights of immigrants – feel about Castro’s plan. Check out a few reactions below.