When It Comes To Democratic Immigration Proposals, Two Texans In The Presidential Race Have The Market Cornered

Of the 24 people running for the Democratic presidential nomination, only Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke have offered ideas about how to address immigration.

By Rhonda Fanning & Michael MarksMay 30, 2019 11:14 am

Immigration is a major Issue for 2020 presidential candidates, including the two Texans in the race, Julian Castro and Beto O”Rourke. And they are the only two Democrats in an large field who have released immigration policy proposals to challenge President Donald Trump’s vision.

Gilbert Garcia is a metro columnist for the San Antonio Express-News. He says plans from both candidates address the way Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, does its work.

“Beto O’Rourke calls for greater accountability and transparency for ICE, but Julian Castro actually comes out and says the functions of ICE need to be split up,” Garcia says.

Castro wants to separate immigration enforcement from national security efforts. Garcia says O’Rourke’s plan addresses border security and drug trafficking – topics that might be most interesting to moderates in the electorate.

The lack of enthusiasm for discussion of immigration from other Democrats is rooted in partisan methods of framing the issue.

“I think many Democrats will concede that it’s a tough issue, politically for the party,” Garcia says. “I think the leaders of the party have struggled with how to get a grip on it – the messaging side of this – because President Trump, and before him, other Republicans, tended to suggest that Democrats were for open borders and didn’t want to secure the border.”

Castro’s immigration proposal also calls for a “Marshall plan” for Central America, referring to the post-World War II U.S. financial investment in putting Europe back on its feet. Garcia says Castro’s belief is that helping Central American countries address their problems would reduce the number of migrants coming to the U.S. from those nations.

O’Rourke wants to spend $5 billion on a similar plan, which would rely on public-private partnerships.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.