Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke Spar on Immigration: ‘If You Did Your Homework on This Issue…’


Immigration was a big topic of discussion at tonight’s Democratic primary debate, particularly in the midst of a national debate about the Trump administration’s border detention policy.

Julián Castro talked again about his proposal to decriminalize border crossings and “treat it as a civil violation,” saying that the Trump administration is using Section 1325 to justify family separations.

And so Castro challenged everyone else on the stage to support the repeal of Section 1325.

Minutes later, Beto O’Rourke was asked what he would do on day one in the White House.

He said he “would not build walls and put kids in cages.”

But as he spoke, Castro called him out on the issue he raised about decriminalizing border crossings.

“We would not detain any family fleeing violence,” O’Rourke said. “We would implement a family case management program so they can be cared for in the community at a fraction of the cost and rewrite our immigration laws in our own image. Free Dreamers for fear of deportation by make them citizens… invest in solutions in Central America, work with regional stakeholders so there is no reason to make that 2000-mile journey.”

Castro called out O’Rourke for not supporting eliminating Section 1325 and said, “I just think it’s a mistake, Beto… and if you truly want to change the system, then we’ve got to repeal that section.”

“As a member of Congress, I helped to introduce legislation that would ensure we don’t criminalize those seeking asylum and refuge,” O’Rourke responded.

“I’m talking about everybody else,” Castro said.

“You’re just looking at one small part of this. I’m talking about a comprehensive rewrite of our immigration laws,” O’Rourke said.

Castro called out O’Rourke and noted he said “you didn’t want to repeal Section 1325 is because you were concerned about human trafficking and drug trafficking.”

He said that there’s other sections of the U.S. Code that deal with human trafficking and that “if you did your homework on this issue, you should know we should repeal this.”

You can watch above, via MSNBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac