Julián Castro

Former San Antonio Mayor | Former HUD Secretary under President Obama | Former 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate

After Julián Castro ended his 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in early January, his presence on the campaign trail continued to be felt: He endorsed the presidential candidacy of Elizabeth Warren and many of the candidates who competed into March followed his lead in pledging to repeal Section 1325 of the U.S. Criminal Code, which makes crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization a criminal offense.

A descendant of Mexican immigrants, Castro is a second-generation Texan who began his political career in San Antonio, the city of his birth, earning a seat on the city council in 2001. He served as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014, before being appointed U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Barack Obama. Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, is currently serving as the U.S. congressman for Texas’s 20th congressional district.

Castro’s political trajectory has been sharp, catapulting him to the national stage in little more than a decade. As the son of a Chicana activist, Castro has always been politically focused, saying, “My mother is probably the biggest reason that my brother and I are in public service.” Castro was attending rallies at the age of 8, and growing up in a border state, immigration has always been central to his policy aims.

Beyond his leadership on the proposal to repeal Section 1325, Castro has been a leading voice in the Democratic Party’s efforts to push back against Donald Trump’s hawkish immigration policies. Add to that the Democratic Party’s fervor to have a diverse White House and Castro is a prime candidate for a cabinet role should a Democrat become president.


Castro’S IDEAS

  • Border Security

    Castro supports decriminalizing border crossings. He would redirect border wall funds to better equip ports of entry and invest in infrastructure, staff, and technology to process asylum claims and prevent human and drug trafficking.

  • Border Wall

    Castro would end the “wasteful, ineffective and invasive border wall construction.”

  • Detention

    Castro would end the use of for-profit detention centers. He would greatly reduce the use of detention altogether “except in serious cases.” Castro also supports alternatives such as the Family Case Management Program.

  • Immigration Courts

    Castro would ensure that all individuals have access to a bond hearing and that “vulnerable populations” such as children, pregnant women and members of the LGBTQ community are not placed in detention. He would increase access to legal representation, guaranteeing counsel for all children. Castro also supports the creation of a court system independent from the Department of Justice.

  • Undocumented Population

    Castro supports a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants who “live, work, and raise families in communities throughout the United States.” He would eliminate requirements for undocumented individuals to leave the U.S. for years (in some cases three, in some cases ten) before becoming a citizen.

  • ICE

    Castro would “reconstitute” ICE by splitting the agency in half and re-assigning enforcement functions. He would end the use of “ICE detainers,” written requests that instruct state and local law enforcement agencies to detain an individual for an additional 48 hours to allow ICE time to investigate the individual’s immigration status. He would end Enforcement and Removal Operations in schools, churches, hospitals, and courthouses.

  • DACA

    Castro supports the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 and a pathway to citizenship for all DACA enrollees. He supports the idea of expanding the program to include immigrant parents who have American citizen children through a proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program.

  • Asylum

    Castro would end asylum “metering” (which limits how many people can make a claim at any given port of entry on any given day) and the “Remain in Mexico” policy. He would increase caps to allow in more refugees and adapt the program to account for “new global challenges like climate change.”

  • Central America Policy

    Castro would prioritize high-level diplomacy in Latin America, pressing for “higher standards of governance, transparency, rule-of-law and anti-corruption practice.” He supports bolstering economic development, better labor rights, and environmentally sustainable jobs.

  • Visas

    Castro would expand protections for guest workers. He supports expanding existing visa programs through the Reuniting Families Act to eliminate