residential candidate Julián Castro speaks at Hemisfair Park.

residential candidate Julián Castro speaks at Hemisfair Park. Alex Hanks/The Paisano

Julián Castro, former San Antonio mayor and former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Barack Obama, took the podium in his “People First” rally in Hemisfair Park on April 10.

The counter-rally originated in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement of an array of fundraising stops which visited San Antonio earlier that same day.

“To Donald Trump, to [my] fellow Americans…we believe in compassion and not cruelty,” Castro said.

Castro put emphasis on what he claimed to be a strong need to rally in the city he once ran, in an effort to send a clear message to the president, especially on the subject of immigration.

The San Antonio native laid out his “People First” immigration plan, noting that he was the only Democratic candidate with substantive legislative plans for common sense immigration reform.

“I’m not afraid to take on the president on this signature issue because I have a completely different vision of how we should handle immigration. Instead of cruelty, we should choose compassion,” Castro said.

The plan includes reducing illegal border crossings from criminal offenses to civil cases.

“The migrants coming here are people, not animals. In many ways, this country needs them more than ever before,” Castro said.

Castro emphasized his plans to rescind Trump’s “Muslim ban” and to prohibit the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

One aspect of his immigration reform plan is to repeal Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which would prohibit the separation of families at the border. Castro’s plans also include thorough investigations of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and a seizure of funding for Trump’s southern border wall.

Castro is currently polling at one to two percent in an array of Democratic primary polls while Joe Biden, who has not formally announced his candidacy, is leading a majority of these polls with large margins.

With 43 weeks left until the Democratic primaries begin, Castro is among eighteen other Democratic candidates.

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