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Decriminalizing illegal immigration and 3 other 'radical' ideas in Julián Castro's new immigration plan
Julián Castro, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, has largely flown under the radar in the early stages of the primary. But the former Housing Secretary under the Obama administration, whose grandmother emigrated from Mexico to the United States in the 1920s, unveiled a "People First" immigration platform on Tuesday with some hard policy points that could create some shock waves.
Here are four key ideas from Castro's "radical" proposal.
Decriminalize all immigration — Castro writes that in 2005, the Bush administration decided to charge those crossing the border illegally with criminal charges rather than civil ones. Castro would reverse this, decriminalizing immigration and instead treating each case as a civil one.
Central American "Marshall Plan" — Castro also called for a "21st century Marshall Plan" for Central America, predicting investments in the region would help stabilize and decrease violence in the nations that are currently major drivers of migration to the United States. He also writes that such a plan would boost U.S. economic growth. The Trump administration recently cut aid funding to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Splitting ICE in half — As opposed to abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Castro would reconstitute it, leaving national security measures such as human and drug traffic and anti-terrorism units within the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration enforcement, then, would be reassigned to other agencies to "increase oversight and raise standards."
End the three and ten-year bars — Castro would also seek to do away with re-entry rules for undocumented individuals who leave the U.S. and want to re-enter legally. Currently, those who accrue more than 180 days of "unlawful presence" in the U.S. are barred from re-entry for three years, while those accrue more than one year cannot return for ten. Read Castro's full post on Medium.