WASHINGTON — Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, a Democratic presidential candidate, declined to say if he thinks one of his challengers in the race, Vice President Joe Biden, should apologize for the level of deportations that took place under former President Barack Obama.
During the last presidential debate, moderator Jorge Ramos asked Biden, “Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?” Castro criticized Biden for not directly answering the question.
“My problem with Vice President Biden — and Cory pointed this out last time — is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, ‘oh, I was there, I was there, I was there, that’s me, too,’ and then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, ‘well, that was the president,'” Castro said at the debate. “I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama’s work, but not have to answer to any questions.”
In July, Biden told immigrant rights activists that he supports deporting undocumented immigrants convicted of a “serious felony” rather than a “misdemeanor.”
Castro was recently asked if he thinks Biden should apologize for the number of deportations that took place under the Obama administration.
“I’ll let him speak for himself. I’ve spoken for myself on that issue. I put out my own immigration plan. I hope all the other candidates would put forth their own ideas on what they would like to do to change our immigration system, — some have and some haven’t,” Castro said on Wednesday evening before accepting a leadership award at the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Noche de Gala.
The Obama administration prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who committed crimes inside the U.S. Castro was asked if he agreed with that approach.
“I’m looking forward and so I have a plan in this race I put forward as to what I would do if I’m president and it represents a completely different and more positive and more humane and more effective vision from Donald Trump,” Castro replied.
Some press reports have noted that Castro praised parts of Obama’s immigration policies in the past. Castro was asked why he’s become more critical of Obama’s immigration record.
“Actually I was critical back then when I was mayor of San Antonio and what’s important now, I think, is that we have to have learned the lessons of the past, which is what I pointed out in Detroit and I have a very different perspective on immigration from Donald Trump and do have my disagreements with some of the other candidates, so I know we can have an immigration system that uses common sense and compassion and is more effective and humane than what we see under Donald Trump,” Castro said.
Part of Castro’s plan includes decriminalizing border crossings.
“We have the power to deal with this problem through the civil process rather than the criminal process,” Booker said. “Our country has made so many mistakes by criminalizing things.”