Biden picks first Latino to lead Homeland Security
Julián Castro calls for border crossing to be decriminalized
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro called for the decriminalization of border crossings Tuesday as part of his 2020 presidential platform on immigration.
"Migration shouldn't be a criminal justice issue."
Castro called for the removal of Section 1325, the law which has made illegal entry a federal misdemeanor since 1929, arguing that the rule has been weaponized to target immigrants.
"These laws got a new life in 2005, when the Bush administration decided to charge those that crossed the border with criminal violations, rather than civil ones," the former San Antonio, Texas, mayor explained.
"This shift to criminalize immigration is at the core of many of this administration's most egregious immigration policies - from family separation to indiscriminate [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] ICE raids to targeting asylum seekers."
Several other positions are outlined in his "People First" immigration strategy, the first policy rollout of his 2020 campaign.
Castro also proposed splitting ICE in half and putting enforcement duties elsewhere, funding a "21st century Marshall Plan for Central America" to address the root causes of rising immigration and making immigration courts "Article I" courts that are more independent from the attorney general.
The unveiling of Castro's immigration platform comes as he struggles to rise from the bottom of polls of the crowded Democratic field.