comScore Fox News' Martha McCallum Spars With Julian Castro on Immigration

Fox News’ Martha MacCallum Spars With Julian Castro: ‘Is There Anyone You Wouldn’t Let in the Country?’

At the Fox News Town Hall, moderator Martha MacCallum bluntly questioned 2020 Democratic hopeful and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro about his immigration policies and asked: “Is there anyone you wouldn’t let in?”

MacCallum’s loaded question came as a follow-up to an earlier query that characterized as “catch and release” the status quo of the asylum process. “Julian Castro, you believe entering the country illegally should not be a federal crime,” she said. “So if it’s not a crime to enter the country is it a crime to not show up for your court date or what point is a crime committed do you believe?”

In response, Castro methodically pointed out that for much of our country’s history, illegal border crossings were treated as a “civil violation” instead of federal crimes.

“It was after we started enforcing it is a criminal violation,” Castro said, “that a lot of the problems that we see today, of this huge backlog of people in the country waiting in limbo, of the separation of little children from their parents, and the detention and incarceration of these families, when that started happening.

Castro disputed a commonly-repeated Trump administration claim — that MacCallum repeated — that a vast majority of asylum seekers never show up for their court date in the US. (Other, similar claims made by Republican members of Congress, have been debunked as false.) In fact, Justice Department figures for 2018 show that the opposite is true, and that 90 percent of asylum seekers did show up for their court dates.

“And so I say, instead of treating people cruelly and instead of wasting money, instead of wondering where people are at, why don’t we implement a smart, effective humane program…” Castro continued, but then MacCallum interrupted him.

“But it doesn’t sound like there isn’t anyone you wouldn’t let in,” MacCallum said. “I mean is there anyone you wouldn’t let in?

“No, I haven’t said that,” Castro corrected her.

“But if it’s not illegal to cross the border illegally, and it’s okay to not show up for–you know, I know you want people to show up for their court date, but you said that’s not where you would draw the line with the law either,” said MacCallum. “So who doesn’t-does everyone get it? Or who doesn’t get in?

Castro responded at length on the status of the border and security, including saying that the court system is underfunded to deal with the issue. Fox News co-moderator Bret Baier jumped in, then, and pressed Castro to say whether or not he thought the elevated border crossing rate right now was a “crisis.” Firing back, the former mayor of San Antonio said: ” I think it is a crisis of leadership…driven by the conditions in countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. And instead of making it better the president is making it worse.”

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under: