Failed Presidential Candidate Julian Castro Says Federal Relief Packages Should Include Illegal Aliens

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • Failed presidential candidate Julian Castro said he wants all families — including those living in the United States illegally — to be able to obtain relief funds for the coronavirus pandemic, and wanted ICE to be broken up. 
  • The former San Antonio mayor established himself as one of the most progressive presidential candidates on immigration, calling for a number of proposals while on the campaign trail. 
  • Castro dropped out of the race in January and endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who also dropped out. Castro had been fairly critical of Biden’s immigration record on the debate stage.

Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said that those living unlawfully in the United States should be included in coronavirus relief packages doled out by the government.

Castro gave an interview to the Daily Kos divulging his thoughts on the recent coronavirus pandemic and how the United States should handle the crisis. Much like his time on the presidential campaign trail, Castro staked out progressive positions on the intersection of illegal immigration and role of American government.

“They should be included in these relief packages. They should be able to access public health, access education, access housing opportunity during this crisis — and beyond,” Castro said, speaking about illegal aliens and mixed-status families.

He continued: “I mean, during the campaign, several of us argued that it makes sense for this country to ensure that every person, no matter who you are, gets good health care, gets good housing opportunities, gets good educational opportunities. It will make us stronger as a country.”

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Julian Castro gestures during a televised townhall on CNN dedicated to LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles, California

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Julian Castro gestures during a televised townhall on CNN dedicated to LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

In response to the economic toll sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act in late March, making $2.2 trillion in stimulus funds available for families and businesses hurting under lockdown orders. The relief package not only provides up to $10 million in forgivable loans for each small business, but also $1,200 to most Americans who make $75,000 or less a year.

Fifty House Democrats sponsored a bill that, if signed into law, would allow illegal aliens to obtain the funds allocated from the CARES Act. Democratic cities across the country — and also California — have created their own taxpayer-funded programs to assist illegal aliens hurting from the recent economic downturn.

“I’m confident that more Americans have seen the value of that idea during this crisis,” Castro continued in his interview.

The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. immigration court system would be reformed in 2021, presumably under a Democratic administration, he added. He also repeated his desire to see Immigration and Customs Enforcement be broken up. (RELATED: Democratic Candidate Asked Why He’s ‘Hypercritical’ Of Trump Immigration Policies He Once Praised Under Obama)

While on the campaign trail, Castro quickly established himself as the most progressive candidate when it came to immigration issues. The liberal firebrand called not only for decriminalization of illegal entry into the country, but also for the decriminalization of illegal re-entry — which is a felony under federal law.

Castro had also pledged to issue an executive order to undo the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program, despite it being cited by immigration authorities as instrumental in stemming the 2019 border crisis. He also supports removing the words “illegal” and “alien” from the U.S. legal code, saying the terms are offensive.

After dropping out of the Democratic presidential contest, Castro endorsed Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who also bowed out of the race. Castro had been publicly critical of the immigration positions and record of Joe Biden, who stands as the party’s presumptive nominee.

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