Rep. Castro: Hispanic community wants ‘infrastructure of opportunity’ to exist for all Americans

Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDems plan hearing on emergency declaration's impact on military Overnight Defense: Dems tee up Tuesday vote against Trump's emergency declaration | GOP expects few defections | Trump doubles number of troops staying in Syria to 400 On The Money: Dems set Tuesday vote on Trump's emergency declaration | Most Republicans expected to back Trump | Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown drama | Powell heading before Congress MORE (D-Texas) says energy among Hispanic voters ahead of the midterm elections has to do with more than just opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE, saying that many in the Hispanic community want to ensure there is an “infrastructure of opportunity” for all Americans.

Responding to a question from Hill.TV “Rising” co-host Krystal Ball, Castro said that opposition to the president contributes partly to the energy of Hispanic voters, but that is just part of their focus.

“I think this is a big part of it, sure. I think when the president kicked off his campaign a few years ago and called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists — there’s a lot of pushback against that,” Castro said.

“But it’s not just that — it’s to make sure that there’s still an infrastructure of opportunity that allows people to pursue their American dreams, and the Hispanic community wants to make sure that exists for everyone,” he added.

Castro, who is the first vice chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, also said he’s hopeful that this year might be the year Democrats turn Texas blue, predicting an upset win by Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeDems wish civil rights icon John Lewis happy birthday: 'We are stronger because of you' Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times MORE (D) in his Senate race against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate MORE (R).

“I think Beto O’Rourke ends up — and I’ve told him all this — somewhere between 48 percent and 52 percent, and I think more and more it looks like he’s going to pull this thing out,” he said. 

Polls show a tight Senate race between O’Rourke and Cruz in the normally reliably red state.

Cruz has just a 3-point lead over O’Rourke, according to RealClearPolitics, and last month, the Cook Political Report shifted the senate race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.”

Republicans aren’t taking these polls lightly.

The No. 2 Senate Republican on Monday warned that Cruz faces a serious threat from O’Rourke.

“We’re not bluffing, this is real, and it is a serious threat,” Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate plots to avoid fall shutdown brawl Inviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge MORE (R-Texas) told Politico.

Experts say getting the deep-red state to favor Democrats really comes down to whether the state’s young and growing Hispanic population registers to vote and shows up at the polls on election day.

Texas has the second largest Hispanic population in the U.S. and is home to nearly 20 percent of all Hispanics in the nation.

As Castro points out, Texas voter participation ranks low across the board, especially among young Hispanic voters.

But the Texas congressman emphasized the growth of grass-roots organizations, like the Texas Organizing Project, that are mobilizing young Hispanic voters.

“What’s different about this year is that you have a bunch of organic groups like the Indivisible groups, for example, but also groups like the Texas Organizing Project that are finally actively working in most parts of Texas now to register folks to vote and also to mobilize them,” he told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn