Wednesday on the nationally syndicated progressive political show “Democracy Now!” 2020 Democratic presidential candidate former Housing Secretary Julian Castro argued President Donald Trump’s immigration policies come from an “individual with a deranged mind” and has “hate toward these migrants.”
Partial transcript as follows:
AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about The New York Times report recently reporting President Trump privately pushed for shooting migrants and for creating a, quote, “water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators,” along the U.S.-Mexico border; the Times also detailing how Trump has privately proposed other radical measures to curtail immigration, including closing the entire U.S.-Mexico border and building an electrified border wall topped with spikes to pierce human flesh; the Times revealing Trump has repeatedly raised the idea of shooting migrants during staff meetings; the paper reporting, “After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.” The Times article is based on the new book, Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration, by the Times reporters Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Julián Castro, if you could respond?
JULIÁN CASTRO: I mean, that’s the product of a deranged mind right there. What else can we say about that, except that’s an individual with a deranged mind and, obviously, a lot of hate toward these migrants? And, you know, this is the caliber of person that’s sitting in the Oval Office right now. It’s just one more example of why he should not be president of the United States, somebody who is not only hateful, but who is so divorced from reality that he would, on multiple occasions, bring up the idea of shooting people. It makes no sense.
I hope that more and more Americans are paying attention to the depravity of this president and the cruelty that he’s inflicted on people that are simply seeking a better life. And that’s consistent with people from different places all over the world that have come seeking a better life, who have come from desperate circumstances throughout the generations. And so, this is nothing new in our country’s history or the history of the world.
And my hope is that this president is going to be held to account for what he’s done in terms of violating his oath of office and abusing his power, that he will be impeached, that he will be removed from office. If he is not impeached and removed, he’s going to be defeated on November 3rd, 2020, and that this nightmare, with respect to how he’s treating migrants, will be over.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Secretary Castro, I wanted to ask you also, because the president often talks about how he’s opposed to people coming into the country illegally, but the reality is that his policies in terms of even legal immigration are dramatically different from past policy. I think the Census Bureau is reporting we had the lowest number of legal immigrants admitted into the country, just a couple hundred thousand compared to an average of about a million a year in many past years, the reduction in refugee admissions, the clampdown on asylum requests. Could you talk about his policy toward legal immigration?
JULIÁN CASTRO: Yeah. You know, sometimes it makes some folks feel good when they can say, “Well, you know, I’m not really against, or the president is not really against immigration; he’s against undocumented immigrants, or so-called illegal immigrants.” But as you point out, clearly, this is an assault on all immigrants, undocumented and documented. This public charge rule that they’ve proposed, that would essentially chill legal immigrants from participating in American life, the cutbacks to the number of refugees that we’ll accept, also this asylum policy that has been tightened, this “Remain in Mexico” policy, that would deal with potential asylees — in all of these ways, the president has sought to curtail legal immigration. So, at the bottom of this is truly a vision of America that looks like Donald Trump. That’s what he wants. That’s what he’s trying to create. And so, people should not fool themselves.
What I believe is that our diversity in this country makes us strong, that we can harness the potential of immigrants, and that, for generations, immigrants, both documented and undocumented, have made this country stronger, have powered our economy, have helped ensure that we continue to move forward as a nation. And that’s going to continue to be the case in the future. And I believe that we should increase the number of people that we’re taking in as refugees and asylees, and that we should put undocumented immigrants who are here in the United States on a pathway to citizenship, as long as they have not committed a serious crime here in the United States. That’s what I would do as president.
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