Politics

Julian Castro Accuses Trump Of Scapegoating Immigrants, Being A ‘Failed Leader’

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and newly-minted Democratic presidential candidate, began his campaign by tearing into President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda.

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“I believe that [Trump] has created a tragedy at the border. This policy of separating children from their parents and the terrible way that Customs and Border Protection has managed its responsibilities, including the deaths of two children within the last two weeks, that’s a real tragedy,” Castro said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” one day after formally announcing his presidential campaign.

“The president may have his rhetoric, but everyone else has the facts right that a wall isn’t the answer,” the Texas Democrat went on.

Castro, who also served as the United States Housing and Urban Development Secretary under the Obama administration, officially launched his presidential campaign at an event in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday. Despite competing against what will likely be an extensive list of other Democratic contenders, Castro aims to rely on his immigrant family story to stand out among the crowd.

Among a litany of progressive positions, the Mexican-American politician has quickly positioned himself as an ardent opponent of Trump’s immigration policies, including his current fight for a border wall.

“[H]e’s failed. He’s a failed leader on this issue,” Castro continued Sunday. “He’s just trying to stoke his political base by bring[ing] up the wall all the time. It’s just a failure of leadership all around. I would end this kind of family detention. I would make that sure we invest in sensible, smart and effective border security that includes personnel, that includes smart use of technology, and that does not scapegoat these immigrants.” (RELATED: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Will Run For President In 2020)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro addresses the North American Building Trades Union National Legislative Conference April 19, 2016 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro addresses the North American Building Trades Union National Legislative Conference April 19, 2016 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Beyond immigration, Castro reiterated his support for a number liberal positions while speaking to CBS host Margaret Brennan, placing him the “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party. The former San Antonio mayor, for example, backs Medicare-for-all, universal access to Pre-K, and the Green New Deal.

When asked how he would fund a universal health care program, something that could cost upwards of $1 trillion a year, Castro said it would require wealthier individuals to “pay their fair share.”

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