Castro hits challengers for taking 'the bait' on right-wing immigration talking points

Castro hits challengers for taking 'the bait' on right-wing immigration talking points
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Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said other Democratic candidates have "taken the bait" on calling decriminalization of illegal border crossings "open borders."

Asked by CNN's Don LemonDon Carlton LemonEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall CNN's Don Lemon sued by Hamptons bartender over alleged assault Scarborough blasts 2020 Democrats for attacking Obama's policies more than Trump's MORE why he disagrees with his former Cabinet colleague Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on whether it should be a crime to enter the country illegally, Castro said "open borders is a right wing talking point and some people on this stage have taken the bait."

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Castro added that the only way to guarantee family separations won't happen again would be to repeal the statute that makes unauthorized entry a crime.

The Trump administration used that statute as the basis for its zero tolerance border policy, which led to the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents.

Castro brought Section 1325, the statute in question, into focus at the first Democratic presidential debate and attacked former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates 2020 Democrats react to NYPD firing of officer in Garner case: 'Finally' Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall MORE (D-Texas) on the subject.

After that debate, Johnson publicly disagreed with Castro.

The statute dates back to the 1920s, but most recent administrations before Trump did not enforce criminal penalties for first time illegal border crossers.