Trump tweets ‘BORING’ as Democrats address detained and dying migrants at the border
U.S. President Donald Trump called the first Democratic debate “boring” as candidates transitioned from the issue of opioids and incarceration to immigration at the southwest border on Wednesday night.
Julian Castro was asked what he would do about immigration as undocumented children are being held in detention, and as migrants are dying as they try to enter the United States.
WATCH: Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro get into heated debate over immigration
The question came two days after a photographer snapped a shot of El Salvador migrant Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, lying dead in the Rio Grande as they tried to approach the border.
Castro said the images are heartbreaking, but they should also “piss us all off.”
He said that if he were president today, he would sign an executive order that would end Trump’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, and that he would also rid the U.S. of a “metering” policy that requires migrants to wait in Mexico before they can make an asylum claim.
“They have been playing games with people who are coming, trying to seek asylum,” he said.
This is what Trump tweeted around the time that the discussion on immigration began:
The issue touched off a debate between Castro and fellow candidate Beto O’Rourke.
O’Rourke said his policy would see no detentions of families fleeing violence, “in fact the deadliest countries on the face of the planet today.”
He said he’d “free Dreamers from any fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens here in this country, invest in solutions in Central America, work with regional stakeholders so there’s no reason to make that 2,000-mile journey to this country.”
WATCH: Trump comments on photo of dead migrant, says ‘open borders means people drowning in rivers’
Castro responded that the only reason that children have been separated from their families is that the U.S. government is using section 1325 of the U.S. code, which he said “criminalizes coming across the border.”
Castro was citing section 1325 of the U.S. code, which covers “improper entry by alien” and treats it as a misdemeanour.
The candidate said some people on the stage had committed to repealing that section, but O’Rourke had not.
“I want to challenge all of the candidates to do that,” Castro said.
“I just think it’s a mistake, Beto, and I think if you truly want to change the system, that we’ve got to repeal that section.”
O’Rourke responded by saying that while in Congress, he helped introduce legislation “that would make sure we don’t criminalize those who are seeking asylum and refuge in this country.”
He said Castro was looking at a “small part of this,” and added that he’s talking about a “comprehensive rewrite of our immigration laws.”
Castro challenged him again, saying that the reason he didn’t want to repeal section 1325 was because “you were concerned about human trafficking and drug trafficking.”
He said that numerous sections of the U.S. code already tackle human trafficking.
“I think you should do your homework on this issue,” he said.
WATCH: Disturbing content – photo of drowned migrants re-kindles memories for B.C. woman
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