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Former Washington Journalist
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Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro has an immigration reform plan which he would try to enact into law if elected president.
That plan includes a “21st century Marshall Plan” to assist nations in Central America so as to reduce incentive to make the trek north to the United States, according to Castro, a former Cabinet official in the Obama administration.
Although apprehensions by US authorities is way down from historical highs in 2000, incumbent Donald Trump has forced immigration to the top of the national agenda, as he ultimately wants to construct a wall along the border with Mexico to further stem immigration.
Speaking on-air during a town hall-style event, Castro particularly took issue with Trump for his administration’s previous policy of family separation which was supposed to be a deterrent to immigration.
“We need to make sure that people who are presenting themselves for asylum can make that claim. Secondly, I don’t think that we should treat them as criminals,” he said. “Up until about 2004 we actually treated somebody crossing the border as a civil violation, not a criminal one.
“In fact, it is the fact that we’ve treated it as a criminal violation that has led to this incarceration, this family detention, the backlog that exists today. I believe that we should treat it as a civil violation, people still are part of an immigration process, they still have to come to their court hearings, we still will monitor them, we still have the option to deport them, the fact is that most people who are seeking asylum you know may not get it but some will and we should hear their claims,” said Castro, a native of Texas who served as mayor of San Antonio before joining the Obama Cabinet.
Part of being “smarter” about immigration would be the creation of this “21st century Marshall Plan” aimed at several Central American nations. The original Marshall Plan was a massive rebuilding and aid package for the nations of Europe hit by the devastation of World War II. The effects and goodwill generated by that program created for the United States a constellation of allies.
“The problem is that folks can’t find safety and opportunity in Honduras or El Salvador or Guatemala. If we can partner with those countries so that people can find safety and opportunity there, instead of having to come and knock on the door of the United States that’s what they want,” Castro said. “That is going to be better for those countries in the long run that also addresses the issue that you’re talking about, which is 92,000 people coming to the southern border in one month.”