Julián for the Future
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Contact: Sawyer Hackett

Julián Castro Unveils Bold, Sweeping ‘People First Immigration’ Policy

First-in-the-field immigration policy will overhaul immigration system, create a more humane border policy, and establish a 21st century Marshall Plan for Central America
SAN ANTONIO, TX (April 2, 2019) – On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, presidential candidate, former Obama Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Julián Castro, unveiled via Medium a bold and extensive immigration policy, the ‘People First Immigration’ plan, to reform our immigration system, create a more just and compassionate border policy, and establish a 21st century Marshall Plan for Central America to re-engage our Latin American partners and address the root causes of migration.
The first-in-the-field plan would, among other reforms, establish a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, reconstitute and reform immigration enforcement agencies and practices, overhaul asylum and detention policies, and properly equip our ports-of-entry to process claims and prevent criminal activity.
Most notably, the plan would reverse a Bush-era practice that prioritizes treating entry into the United States as a criminal, rather than civil, violation—a provision that has sanctioned many of the most egregious Trump administration immigration practices, such as family separation. This bold provision would change the way the United States government views migrants entering our nation--not as threats to our national security, as prescribed by antiquated policies of previous administrations--but rather as people and families in search of a better life who can contribute tremendously to the fabric of our nation and economy.
“It’s time our nation’s immigration system reflect the collective values that we all share — equality, fairness, justice, and compassion,” said Secretary Julián Castroon Medium. “It’s time that we recognize that protecting our borders and treating immigrants with compassion are not mutually exclusive. I’m proud to unveil an immigration policy that re-integrates those collective values in our immigration system. A policy that is sensible and fair, and treats those who cross our borders in search of refuge with empathy and understanding.”

Secretary Castro will discuss his People First Immigration plan in an exclusive interview tonight with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow at 9:00 PM ET/8:00 PM CT. Later this week, Secretary Castro will travel to Los Angeles on Friday, April 5, 2019, for his first California rally since launching his campaign to discuss his vision for a more compassionate immigration system that stands in stark contrast to the vitriolic Trump immigration agenda that has failed the American people. On Friday, March 29, Secretary Castro announced via twitter that during President Trump’s fundraising trip to San Antonio on Wednesday, March 10, he will also hold a “One Nation. One Destiny” rally at 6:00 PM CT at a location to be announced in his hometown of San Antonio.
The People First immigration policy was immediately praised by activists and policy leaders following its release:

"All candidates should be prioritizing immigration," said Andre Segura, the Legal Director at ACLU Texas. "All candidates should be prioritizing immigration. 👏🏽 @JulianCastro for not only being first but setting out a plan that rejects Trump’s cruel policies and helps move us all forward in a compassionate and concrete way. This is no easy challenge but we must hold everyone to it."

Amanda Baran, an attorney and former Principal Director of Immigration Policy, Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration, tweeted"@JulianCastro⁩’s #PeopleFirstImmigration policy has vision and sets the standard for 2020 Democrats." She added, "I love the idea of expanding our moral imagination. That is so on point. We can’t be constrained by “what can be done” but instead must think big and rise to meet our challenges. This moment calls for so much more."

Frank Sharry, founder and Executive Director at America's Voice, a leading immigrant rights advocacy organization, tweeted "First out of the gate with a thoughtful set of ideas and stands on immigration and refugees, Julián Castrointegrates humane and workable policies with smart enforcement priorities. Well done, sir."

"This is a bold, serious, smart, extremely clear immigration plan," said Jess Morales Rocketto. "And it is rooted in the love and compassion people deserve. @JulianCastro just set the standard for 2020 candidates.

Jonathan Jayes-Green, the co-founder and director of Undocublack, a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people, tweeted, "Excited to see the first immigration platform of the 2020 race by @JulianCastro. It embraces the Dream and Promise Act  & mostly calls for an end to immigration detention, the end of 287(g) agreements, rescinding the Muslim Ban, restoring asylum, etc. I particularly appreciated seeing climate change named as a reason why we need to increase refugee numbers - we don’t talk nearly enough about this but it is real."

Former Dreamer, best-selling author, and social justice advocate Julissa Arcetweeted, "Secretary @JulianCastro has set the bar high for immigration policy in the 2020 campaign. We need to hear from other 2020 candidates if they support measures to provide a pathway to citizenship, eliminate detention, break up ICE, and repeal 1325."

The People First Immigration plan would 1) reform many of the historically flawed policies and procedures of our current immigration system 2) create a more fair and humane system to address our border 3) establish a new doctrine for re-engaging Central America to address the root causes of immigration. 
The policy outline can be viewed below:
People First Immigration Policy
  1. Reforming our Immigration System
  2. Establish an inclusive road map to citizenship for undocumented individuals and families who do not have a current pathway to legal status, but who live, work, and raise families in communities throughout the United States.
  3. Provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and those under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure, through the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, and defend DACA and TPS protections during the legislative process.
  4. Revamp the visa system and strengthen family reunification through the Reuniting Families Act, reducing the number of people who are waiting to reunite with their families but are stuck in the bureaucratic backlog.
  5. Terminate the three and ten year bars, which require undocumented individuals—who otherwise qualify for legal status—to leave the United States and their families behind for years before becoming citizens.
  6. Rescind Trump’s discriminatory Muslim and Refugee Ban, other harmful immigration-related executive orders, racial profiling of minority communities, and expanded use of denaturalization as a frequently used course of action through the USCIS Denaturalization Task Force.
  7. Increase refugee admissions, reversing cuts under Trump, and restoring our nation to its historic position as a moral leader providing a safe haven for those fleeing persecution, violence, disaster, and despair. Adapt these programs to account for new global challenges like climate change.
  8. End cooperation agreements under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and other such agreements between federal immigration enforcement agencies and state and local entities that erode trust between communities and local police.
  9. Allow all deported veterans who honorably served in the armed forces of the United States to return to the United States and end the practice of deporting such veterans.
  10. Strengthen labor protections for skilled and unskilled guest workers and end exploitative practices which hurt residents and guest workers, provide work authorization to spouses of participating individuals, and ensure guest workers have a fair opportunity to become residents and citizens through the Agricultural Worker Program Act.
  11. Protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, ensuring these individuals are not subject to detention, deportation, or legal reprisal following their reporting these incidents.

  12. Creating a Humane Border Policy
  13. Repeal Section 1325 of Immigration and Nationality Act, which applies a criminal, rather than civil, violation to people apprehended when entering the United States. This provision has allowed for separation of children and families at our border, the large-scale detention of tens of thousands of families, and has deterred migrants from turning themselves in to an immigration official within our borders. The widespread detention of these individuals and families at our border has overburdened our justice system, been ineffective at deterring migration, and has cost our government billions of dollars.
    • Effectively end the use of detention in conducting immigration enforcement, except in serious cases. Utilize cost-effective and more humane alternatives to detention, which draw on the successes of prior efforts like the Family Case Management Program. Ensure all individuals have access to a bond hearing and that vulnerable populations, including children, pregnant women, and members of the LGBTQ community are not placed in civil detention.
    • Eliminate the for-profit immigration detention and prison industry, which monetizes the detention of migrants and children.
    • End immigration enforcement raids at or near sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals, churches, and courthouses.
  14. Reconstitute the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) by splitting the agency in half and re-assigning enforcement functions within the Enforcement and Removal Operations to other agencies, including the Department of Justice. There must be a thorough investigation of ICE, Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Justice’s role in family separation policies instituted by the Trump administration.
  15. Reprioritize Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to focus its efforts on border-related activities including drug and human trafficking, rather than law enforcement activities in the interior of the United States. Extend Department of Justice civil rights jurisdiction to CBP, and adopt best practices employed in law enforcement, including body-worn cameras and strong accountability policies.
  16. End wasteful, ineffective and invasive border wall construction and consult with border communities about repairing environmental and other damage already done.
  17. Properly equip our ports of entry, investing in infrastructure, staff, and technology to process claims and prevent human and drug trafficking.
  18. End asylum “metering” and the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, ensuring all asylum seekers are able to present their claims to U.S. officials.
  19. Create a well-resourced and independent immigration court system under Article 1 of the Constitution, outside the Department of Justice, to increase the hiring and retention of independent judges to adjudicate immigration claims faster.  
  20. Increase access to legal assistance for individuals and families presenting asylum claims, ensuring individuals understand their rights and are able to make an informed and accurate request for asylum. Guarantee counsel for all children in the immigration enforcement system.
  21. Protect victims of domestic and gang violence, by reversing guidance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that prohibited asylum claims on the basis of credible fear stemming from domestic or gang violence.

  22. Establishing a 21st Century ‘Marshall Plan’ for Central America
  23. Prioritize high-level diplomacy with our neighbors in Latin America, a region where challenges in governance and economic development have consequences to migration to the United States, U.S. economic growth, and regional instability.
  24. Ensure higher standards of governance, transparency, rule-of-law, and anti-corruption practice as the heart of U.S. engagement with Central America, rejecting the idea that regional stability requires overlooking authoritarian actions.
  25. Enlist all actors in Central America to be part of the solution by restoring U.S. credibility on corruption and transparency and encouraging private sector, civil society, and local governments to work together – rather than at cross purposes – to build sustainable, equitable societies.
  26. Bolster economic development, superior labor rights, and environmentally sustainable jobs, allowing individuals to build a life in their communities rather than make a dangerous journey leaving their homes.
  27. Ensure regional partners are part of the solution by working with countries in the Western Hemisphere to channel resources to address development challenges in Central America, including through a newly constituted multilateral development fund focused on sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Central America.
  28. Target illicit networks and transnational criminal organizations through law enforcement actions and sanctions mechanisms to eliminate their ability to raise revenue from illegal activities like human and drug trafficking and public corruption.
  29. Re-establish the Central American Minors program, which allows individuals in the United States to petition for their minor children residing in Central America to apply for resettlement in the U.S. while their applications are pending.
  30. Increase funding for bottom-up development and violence prevention programs, including the Inter-American Foundation, to spur initiatives that prevent violence at the local level, support public health and nutrition, and partner with the private sector to create jobs.
About Secretary Julián Castro
Julián Castro served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014-2017. Before that, he was Mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas — the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city at the time. In 2012, he gave a rousing keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, during which he described the American Dream as a relay to be passed from generation to generation. In 2018, Castro founded Opportunity First, an organization to invest in the next generation of progressive leaders. In October 2018, Little, Brown published Castro’s memoir, An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream. On January 12, 2019, Secretary Castro announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Follow Julián Castro on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. JulianfortheFuture.com and