Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
- Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and Housing and Urban Development secretary, laid out one of the most detailed immigration plans set forth by a 2020 presidential contender on Tuesday.
- Castro framed his plan as a "compassionate" antithesis to Trump’s "cruel" immigration policies, and decades of US policy that has treated migration issues as criminal, rather than civil, concerns.
- Perhaps most bold are Castro’s calls to split up ICE — separating the agency’s enforcement and national security functions — and implementing what he called a "21st century Marshall Plan" for Central America.
Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and Housing and Urban Development secretary, laid out one of the most detailed immigration plans among 2020 contenders on Tuesday.
In a Medium post, Castro called to:
- Reverse the Trump administration’s travel ban on immigrants from several Muslim majority nations
- Increase limits on asylum recipients
- Scrap Trump’s proposed wall along the US-Mexico border
- Split the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) in two
- Dramatically increase US aid to Central America
- Provide pathways to citizenship for the more than 10 million undocumented immigrants living in the US.
Castro framed his plan as a "compassionate" antithesis to Trump’s "cruel" immigration policies, and said the proposals would reverse decades of US policy that has treated migration issues as criminal, rather than civil, concerns.
"The truth is, immigrants seeking refuge in our country aren’t a threat to national security," Castro wrote. "Migration shouldn’t be a criminal justice issue. It’s time to end this draconian policy and return to treating immigration as a civil — not a criminal — issue."
Perhaps most bold are Castro’s calls to reform ICE and implement what he called a "21st century Marshall Plan" for Central America, a reference to the massive economic assistance plan the US instituted for Europe following World War II.
Following calls from some prominent Democrats and many immigration rights advocates last year to eliminate or fully re-structure ICE, Castro’s plan would separate the agency’s deportation and enforcement arm from its national security arm, which addresses human, drug, and weapons trafficking and transnational crime.
He called for ICE’s national security functions to be moved into the Department of Homeland Security and its Enforcement and Removal Operations, which arrests and deports immigrants, to be housed under other agencies with more oversight.
The Texas native’s plan appears similar to one proposed by nearly 20 ICE investigators last year, who argued for the separation of the two arms because they believed the agency’s association with deportation had posed challenges to its national security work.
Castro’s calls for a Marshall Plan for Central America come just days after Trump announced his administration will cut off all US aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as punishment for the region’s failure to stem the flow of migrants north to the US.
Castro argued that the only way to reduce population flows across the border from Central America is to help "stabilize" countries wracked by poverty and crime.
"Making investments in our southern neighbors boost U.S. economic growth, strengthens global relationships and helps ensure that all people can find the safety and stability they seek in their home countries," the Texas native wrote.
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