Julián Castro on Immigration – The New York Times

Julián Castro, a former housing secretary under President Barack Obama, was the first candidate to release an immigration plan. It’s one of the centerpieces of what he refers to as his “People First” platform.

  • Mr. Castro’s plan seeks to downgrade border crossing from a criminal to a civil offense, charts a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and calls for a 21st-century “Marshall Plan” for Central America.

  • His plan also seeks to undo much of the anti-immigration agenda advanced by the Trump administration. He would stop construction of the border wall, end the “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy and rescind the ban on refugees from certain countries entering the United States.

  • More broadly, his plan seeks to restructure the post-9/11 immigration-enforcement system in a comprehensive way.

  • As the former mayor of San Antonio and the only Latino candidate in the race, Mr. Castro makes it clear that he has both lived and dealt with the effects of immigration. He casts himself as the candidate best equipped to grapple with the complicated issue.

  • Mr. Castro frames his approach to immigration as driven by compassion, a clear and purposeful distinction between his politics and those of President Trump.

  • The United States doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to economic intervention in Latin America.

  • Lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to pass immigration reform for decades. If Congress is divided in 2020, broad compromise on a sweeping plan seems unlikely.

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Immigration fight heats up before Democratic debate as candidates attack Trump over drowning photo – CNN

The publication of the tragic image of a drowned Salvadoran man and his young daughter, face down in the Rio Grande, after they attempted to enter the United States, led to condemnations from candidates of President Donald Trump’s policies that have made it more difficult for those fleeing violence in Central America to seek asylum at ports of entry.
The candidates also rushed to visit a detention center in Homestead, where unaccompanied migrant children are being held.
Campaigns expected the first Democratic debate to include some focus on immigration, given the event will be held in South Florida. But the shocking imagery and visits to Homestead have turned the campaign’s spotlight to immigration, an issue that animated Trump’s campaign and united Democrats in a chorus of condemnation of the administration’s policies.
Elizabeth Warren announces visit to migrant facility hours ahead of first debate
The wave of trips to the detention facility was kicked off by Elizabeth Warren, who — during a town hall in South Florida on Tuesday — announced she would visit the detention facility hours before her debate and invited her supporters to come along.
“I’m going to Homestead tomorrow,” she said. “Come with me.”
Warren arrived outside the desolate, hot facility before noon on Wednesday, joined by a few dozen supporters who the campaign bussed to the facility after the senator publicly invited people to join her.
Standing atop a ladder in the 90-degree heat, a hat and sunglass clad Warren waved to children inside the facility who could be seen from the senator’s vantage point as they were moved around inside the facility.
“Stop the cruelty,” protesters chanted as Warren visited, free the children.”
While some candidates had long planned to visit the detention facility during their trip to Miami for the debates, Warren’s announcement seemingly set off a wave of announced visits.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced she would visit the detention facility Wednesday afternoon, hours ahead of when she takes the debate stage in Miami.
Jane Sanders, wife of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, also visited the facility on Wednesday, telling reporters that one of her husband’s first executive actions as president would be to shut down facilities like the one in Homestead.
Aides to former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California Sen. Kamala Harris all said they would visit the facility on Friday.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke was the first candidate to announce he planned to visit the Homestead detention facility. He plans to go Thursday, after he debates Wednesday night.
The number of visits to Homestead had put pressure on campaigns to fit the 40 miles drive from downtown Miami into their schedules, almost making visiting the detention facility a requirement in the Democratic primary.
The facility is an influx facility run by the Department of Health and Human Services for unaccompanied children, who remain there until placed with sponsors in the US. There are around 2,300 children currently at Homestead, according to Evelyn Stauffer, spokeswoman for the HHS’ Administration for Children and Families.
There have been a stream of reports — including from CNN — of subpar conditions for children and families in the care of Customs and Border Protection, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.
Melissa Taveras, spokeswoman for Florida Immigrant Coalition, said these visits matter, in part, because it shines a spotlight on what is happening at the facility.
“The fact that the candidates are here, it really — even if they don’t end up winning — it allows us to take the opportunity to voice our concerns on a national platform, so that the country sees what’s happening and really become sympathetic to these issues,” Taveras told CNN. “Because when you think of immigrants and you think of refugees, I think people just think of them as very far away, as distant, almost inhuman. This is a really strong reality.”
None of the candidates who visited or plan to visit will get into the facility. Evelyn Stauffer, spokeswoman for the HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, said in a statement to CNN that while they welcome the candidates to Homestead, they “require a minimum two-week notification at the convenience and availability of the facility” to come inside.
The visits to Homestead came on the heels of a photo of the father and daughter who drowned on Sunday becoming international news. The photo, taken by Julia Le Duc, Oscar Alberto Martínez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, face down in murky water at the banks of the Rio Grande. The pair drowned Sunday as they were crossing from Mexico into Texas near Brownsville. They actually had made it to the Texas side initially, and Martinez placed his child there before turning around to get his wife, a journalist says. But when the daughter saw her father swimming away, she jumped in and both drowned when a strong current swept over them.
A shocking image of a drowned man and his daughter underscores the crisis at the US-Mexico border
Presidential candidates responded to the photo with a mix of horror and condemnation for Trump.
“These families seeking asylum are often fleeing extreme violence,” Harris tweeted in response. “And what happens when they arrive? Trump says, ‘Go back to where you came from.’ That is inhumane. Children are dying. This is a stain on our moral conscience.”
Buttigieg told MSNBC in an interview on Wednesday morning that “there are no words” for the tragedy in the photo.
“This is the supposed to be the greatest country in the world. And the shocking thing is that part of what makes that possible is fear,” Buttigieg said, adding later, “If you can look at a picture like that and say that it is acceptable to continue doing what we’ve been doing, then I just don’t understand.”
O’Rourke tweeted a blunt reaction to the image: “Trump is responsible for these deaths.”
“As his administration refuses to follow our laws — preventing refugees from presenting themselves for asylum at our ports of entry — they cause families to cross between ports, ensuring greater suffering & death. At the expense of our humanity, not to the benefit of our safety,” he said on Twitter.
Bernie Sanders called the photo “just one painful example of so many that demonstrate the reckless disregard for basic humanity that have come from Trump’s policies.”
And New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tweeted that people “should not look away” from the photo.
“These are the consequences of Donald Trump’s inhumane and immoral immigration policy. This is being done in our name,” he added.
Immigration is one area of the Democratic primary where most of the candidates are unified, not just against Trump’s policies, but on what they would do if the President is outed from the White House in 2020.
At least three candidates on the debate stage on Wednesday night — Castro, O’Rourke and Warren — have unveiled comprehensive immigration plans.
Castro, whose grandmother came to the United States from Mexico, unveiled an extensive immigration plan in April that looked roll back a series of laws implemented under Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, including decriminalizing crossing the border illegally. Castro was the first candidate in the crowded 2020 Democratic field to unveil a detailed immigration plan.
“Absolutely heartbreaking,” Castro tweeted in response to the photo. “Families are fleeing desperate conditions to find refuge, only for the doors to be shut in their face. We need a more sensible, compassionate immigration system that doesn’t criminalize desperation.
Warren said this week she agrees with Castro that border crossings should be decriminalized
And O’Rourke brings a mix of personal experience and policy. The former congressman lives on a hill in El Paso overlooking the US-Mexico border and is bilingual. O’Rourke also brought attention as a Texas Senate candidate last year to the swelling population of migrant children who had been separated from their parents and were being kept at a detention facility in Tornillo.
After a town hall with the American Federation of Teachers on Tuesday, O’Rourke told reporters that “Donald Trump is the most openly racist president that we’ve had.”
“It’s that rhetoric that has led to the practices that we’re seeing at Homestead; the practices that we’re seeing in my hometown of El Paso, Texas,” he said.

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The crisis at the US-Mexico border: Latest news – CNN

The father and daughter who drowned left El Salvador with family on April 3rd seeking better life in Dallas, Texas, according to family members.

On Sunday they arrived at the border: Salvadoran migrants Oscar Alberto Martinez, his wife Tania Avalos, their almost 2-years-old daughter Angie Valeria Martinez and a cousin arrived to the bordering city of Matamoros in northeastern Mexico Sunday morning, according to Enrique Maciel Cervantes, Director of the Tamaulipas Institute for Migrants.

Cervantes explained that on the same day of their arrival, the family voluntarily headed to the “New International Bridge” seeking information. They were told to visit the National Institute of Migration and to request an appointment-interview-number to petition for a humanitarian aid visa to the United States.

According to Tania Avalos, the family left the National Institute of Migration, went for lunch and “once walking on the edge of the Rio Grande, they decided to cross-over to the United States, unluckily,” Cervantes said.

The mother of Oscar Alberto Martinez, Rosa Ramirez, confirmed that her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter left the country on April 3 in hopes to make it to Dallas, Texas to work. The family stayed in Mexico with a permit from the Mexican authorities.

Mrs. Ramirez explained that her family wanted to buy their own house and better their financial situation.

Ramirez said her son used to work as a cook in a pizzeria and that he was a good man that always tried to help his family out, she told CNN’s affiliate Canal 33. Ramirez said the last time she talked to her son was on Friday and he said everything was going well.


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Trump is doing all the wrong things on immigration – CNN

Jeffrey Miron
Laura Nicolae
Despite these efforts, illegal immigration has recently increased. One reason is that Trump’s measures do not reduce the incentives for people to migrate illegally. To shrink illegal immigration, the US needs policies that lower these incentives, especially if these make sense independently of immigration.

Expand free trade

Trump recently suspended plans to impose increasing tariffs after Mexico agreed to “take strong measures” to reduce cross-border migration, but threatened to reinstate them if Mexico fails to cooperate in the future. This would harm the US and Mexican economies and increase illegal immigration.
Immigration and trade are alternative mechanisms for narrowing differences in production costs across countries. Liberalizing US trade policy would increase demand for foreign labor, shrink wage differences between the US and its trade partners, and reduce the incentive for migration. After the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico gained hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs.
Trump's pathetic assertion that he'll deport millions of immigrants should fool no one
Freer trade with Mexico, China, Cuba or South America would improve living standards in those regions and decrease incentives for illegal immigration in the long run, while improving US economic growth. For example, the United States could end its trade war with China, restart negotiations for a free-trade agreement with South America, and normalize trade relations with Cuba.
Free trade also lowers prices for consumers and export costs for businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that trade with Canada and Mexico supports 14 million jobs.

End the war on drugs

Prohibition causes violence by driving drug markets underground, where disputes cannot be resolved through courts. Captures of kingpins increase violence by motivating rival gangs to exploit the weakened organizations. The US enforces prohibition in Latin America and the Caribbean by seizing drugs and financing the Mexican drug war.
We went to a border detention center for children. What we saw was awful
Many immigrants risk their lives to escape drug-related violence in their native countries. El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the world, due in part to gangs that fled the US-backed drug war in Mexico. And El Salvador is the second-largest source of illegal immigration to the United States.
Ending drug prohibition would save the United States around $50 billion in enforcement costs and raise $50 billion in tax revenue annually, while reducing the risks of drug use. In underground markets, quality control is poor because consumers face difficulty assessing drug potency; suppliers transport illicit drugs in highly concentrated forms to avoid detection, increasing the risk of overdose.

Expand legal immigration

Expanding legal immigration decreases illegal immigration.
And economic research consistently shows that immigration increases economic output. The Penn Wharton Budget Model, for example, calculates that even modest increases in legal immigration would substantially increase GDP growth and employment. Immigrants produce more patentable innovations than native-born Americans and start new businesses at twice the rate of native-born Americans.
Congress should therefore increase the caps on H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers, further increase the number of returning H-2B workers exempt from the annual cap of 66,000 and create an extended-stay guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants similar to the H1-B visa program for high-skilled immigrants.
Trump's unfair crackdown on visa overstays
Opponents often object that immigrants drain the federal budget. In reality, immigrants have been less likely to use welfare than native-born Americans, and on average have consumed a lower dollar value of benefits.
Moreover, this objection justifies cutting entitlement spending, not immigration. The current welfare state is unaffordable; according to CBO projections, federal debt held by the public, currently at 78% of America’s gross domestic product (GDP), will reach 144% by 2049. So Congress should cut entitlement spending to maintain federal solvency, such as by raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare, reforming the indexation of Social Security benefits, increasing Medicare deductibles or tightening eligibility for disability insurance.
These changes would improve the US fiscal imbalance and calm political debate about immigration.
As long as demand for immigration persists, enforcement-only attempts to limit illegal immigration will be only partially effective. Most undocumented US residents enter legally but overstay their visas. And the Trump administration’s limitations on asylum applications at legal ports of entry have only increased illegal border crossings.
Rather than continue failed supply-side approaches, the US should aim to reduce the demand for illegal immigration. In this way, immigration reform can be a win-win.

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Photo of drowned father, daughter sparks new calls to deal with immigration crisis – ABC News

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