Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro get into Texas tussle at Dem debate – New York Post

MIAMI, Fla. — Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who represented El Paso, and ex-HUD Director Julian Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio got into a Texas-sized tussle on immigration Wednesday night at the first Democratic debate.

Castro has said he wants to decriminalize border crossings, explaining to the debate audience that the country shouldn’t “criminalize desperation.”

“Let’s be very clear, the reason that they’re separating little children from their families is that they’re using section 1325 of [the Immigration and Nationality Act], which criminalizes coming across the border, to incarcerate the parents and then separate them,” Castro said.

“Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate that, some, like Congressman O’Rourke have not,” Castro said calling out his fellow Texan. “I think it’s a mistake, Beto, I think it’s a mistake.”

O’Rourke, who was outlining broad concepts for what he wanted to accomplish on the immigration front, shot back.

“As a member of Congress I helped to introduce legislation to make sure we don’t criminalize people who are seeking asylum or refuge in this country,” O’Rourke said. He added that Castro was “looking at just one small part of this” in contrast to talking about a “comprehensive rewrite of our immigration laws.”

Castro wasn’t having it.

“That’s not true, that’s not true,” the 44-year-old former Obama administration official said. “You said recently that the reason you didn’t want to repeal section 1325 was because you were concerned about human trafficking and drug trafficking.” Castro said there were other laws on the books to take care of that.

“If you did your homework on this issue, you would know we should repeal this section,” Castro tsk-tsked.


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