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Julián Castro Calls on GOP to Stop “Politicizing the Border and Children’s Lives”

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Douglas Rivlin: “We must replace GOP political depravity with a modern solution.”


 A new CNN op-ed from former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, “Republicans are politicizing the border and children’s lives,” blasts the GOP for their fear mongering, falsehoods, and politicization of the lives of children from Central America who are seeking asylum. Secretary Castro recaps how the same Republicans now hyping the situation along our borders are whitewashing Donald Trump’s failures and cruelty along the border. The full piece is a must-read and we highlight key excerpts below:

…Over the last month, several Republicans in Congress have traveled to our southern border to try to draw attention to an increase in asylum seekers presenting themselves to border patrol. Texas officials like Sens. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Gov. Greg Abbott have used these trips to fear-monger constituents about children seeking asylum and gaslight Americans about who really created the challenge at our border today.

They’re spreading lies about what’s happening on the border, about migrants spreading Covid-19, and about which president is to blame for the current influx of unaccompanied children seeking refuge. Their hypocrisy is disturbing and detached from reality, but it’s not at all surprising.

Republicans’ trips, floor speeches, and statements are nothing more than cynical political stunts that attempt to rewrite the history of former President Donald Trump’s failed immigration agenda. 

…In 2018, Republicans supported Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy, which mandated that all migrants be criminally prosecuted and thousands of children be separated from their parents. That same year, Trump instituted the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols, that directed non-Mexican asylum seekers to return to Mexico as they awaited hearings in the US.

Also in 2018, the Trump administration enacted metering policies to grind the asylum process to a halt and leave thousands of refugees in tent cities along our border. I saw the human tragedy of these policies when I traveled to Matamoros, Mexico, in 2019. I spoke to a mother with a 20-day-old baby on her lap, who told me the story of her long journey to the United States while she swatted flies off of her newborn. And the inhumanity didn’t stop there.

In 2019, Trump froze hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid to Central America, a decision that then-former Vice President Joe Biden said would “increase migration to our Southern border, not reduce it.” 

…However, the same Republicans, including Abbott, who are demagoguing our border did not make a peep in Trump’s last nine months in office, when there was a 359% increase in border encounters and a 690% increase in unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.

…The truth is: the Biden administration is picking up the pieces of a humanitarian catastrophe Trump left at our doorstep. While combating a global pandemic, an economic recession and a dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, the Biden administration is reassembling our asylum system and replacing Trump’s cruelty with compassion and common sense.

Instead of expelling children and leaving asylum seekers in tents along our border, they’re working to build capacity at the Department of Health and Human Services facilities, standing up asylum systems in Central America so families aren’t forced to journey to the border, and they’re more quickly vetting sponsors so unaccompanied migrant children can be placed in loving homes as fast as possible.

…In the long term, the Biden administration is working to address the root causes of migration and improve conditions in Central America so that families can find safety and opportunity at home, instead of making the dangerous journey to the border. President Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to oversee these efforts.

…Instead of spreading lies and pointing fingers, Republicans in Congress and governors of our border states like Abbott should work with the Biden administration to fix our immigration system and invest in Central America. If they’re serious about these issues, they should do the work to pass immigration reform, instead of using the issue to inspire fear and divide Americans.

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

We must replace GOP political depravity with a modern solution. We need to build a forward-looking, modern immigration system rather than revert to the depravity and failure of the Trump years. We can’t take seriously Republicans who want only to play politics, demonize immigrants and put vulnerable kids back into the dangerous situations they fled. If we’re interested in solutions at our border, we have to look beyond the border to the source of the crisis in Central America while finally delivering on citizenship for long-settled immigrants and new legal pathways to make migration patterns safe and orderly. Of course, Republicans aren’t interested in real solutions, just short-term politics, looking tough for the cameras and whitewashing Trump’s disastrous record of family separation, failure and cruelty.