Julian Castro Officially Qualifies For September Democratic Debate

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro qualified for the third Democratic primary debate in September after reaching both the polling and donor threshold required of candidates.

Castro received 2% in a CNN/SRSS survey released Tuesday morning, clearing the final bar for him to be on the fall debate stage. Under the rules established by the Democratic National Committee, presidential candidates must receive at least 2% in four separate polls between June 28 and August 28 that are approved by the DNC, and they must receive donations from at least 130,000 individuals across multiple states.

The Texas Democrat received 2% in three previous surveys, and his campaign says he already reached the donor threshold.

“Thank you to our growing number of supporters across the country!” Castro tweeted on Tuesday in response to the latest poll.

Castro is the tenth candidate to qualify for the September Democratic debate. He joins former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Tom Steyer is likely to be the next candidate to qualify for next month’s debate state, the billionaire businessman-turned-environmental activist needs only one more survey, having already cleared the donor threshold.

Castro served as mayor of San Antonio before former President Barack Obama appointed him as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and he is the twin brother of Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro. Since entering the Democratic primary contest, he has established himself as one of the most liberal voices on illegal immigration.

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro (right) and his twin brother U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Castro not only supports decriminalizing illegal entry into the U.S., but he is also in favor of repealing the law that makes unauthorized re-entry into the U.S. a felony. Currently, it is a misdemeanor to enter the country illegally — an offense punishable by up to six months in prison. Entering the country illegally more than once is a felony under U.S. law, and punishable by at least two years in prison.

The former HUD secretary supports his twin brother’s bid to omit the words “alien” and “illegal alien” from the government’s legal code, believing that the terminology is offensive. He has also brushed away the term “open borders,” as just a “right-wing talking point.” (RELATED: ‘Words Matter’: Democratic Congressman Wants To Officially Abolish The Words ‘Illegal Alien’)

The far-left positions have earned him pushback from other members on the Democratic debate stage.

“I have guts enough to say his plan doesn’t make sense,” Biden said of Castro’s border decriminalization plan during the July debate. “The fact of the matter is that, in fact, when people cross the border illegally, it is illegal to do it unless they’re seeking asylum. People should have to get in line. That’s the problem.”

Biden went on to call Castro out for criticizing the number of deportations under Obama, but never mentioning the subject when he served in his administration.

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