While Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke have tried to duke it out over who is going to be the toughest on guns and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders try to figure out what free thing they can offer the American people next, Julian Castro has made it his business to be the most progressive candidate on immigration.
It was Castro who first recommended decriminalizing the border, turning illegal immigration into the kind of infraction for which one might get a ticket or a slap on the wrist. And part and parcel to that extreme platform, Castro has been ruthless in his attacks on frontrunner Joe Biden, whom he blames for standing idly by while President Obama presided over a deportation state.
Biden, he scoffed at the last debate, wants to “take credit for Obama’s work but not have to answer to any questions” about the controversial border actions the former president took. These actions were, of course, not really all that controversial back then. But that was (just slightly) before the Democratic Party went insane on the issue of illegal immigration. Back then, they were just soft on it.
But as the Texas Tribune brilliantly noted this week, Castro wasn’t always this off-the-charts-nuts on the subject of illegal immigration himself. In fact, when Obama was in office, Castro had nothing but praise for the administration’s policies.
From the Tribune:
In 2013, while testifying before the Republican-led Congress, Castro gave a full-throated endorsement of the border and immigration policies advocated by Obama — who critics labeled the “deporter in chief” for his aggressive immigrant removal policies — and touted the completion of enforcement measures that included fencing along the U.S-Mexico border.
“Under this administration, there has been tremendous progress with regard to enforcement,” Castro, then-mayor of San Antonio, told the House Judiciary Committee in February 2013 in response to a question from then-U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, on whether interior enforcement should play a role in discouraging undocumented immigrants from crossing the U.S. border. “In fact, the triggers in the 2007 proposal have just about all been met. But going forward, of course, enforcement is part of the conversation.”
Now, far be it from us to suggest that a guy’s position on any given issue can’t evolve over time. But it’s awfully strange that these Democrats were so willing to talk about increased border security and the perils of illegal immigration in the days before Donald Trump came on the scene. Yeah, they always sounded a bit less enthusiastic about it than they might have, but they weren’t espousing crazy nonsense like tearing down the border fence or handing free healthcare to every illegal alien in the country. Only when it became convenient to use these issues as a way of contrasting themselves with Trump did they suddenly get “woke” on immigration.
Or maybe Trump’s hardline approach on the issue only dragged the Democrats’ true intentions out into the light of day.