CNN Panel Grills Castro on ‘Open Borders’: You're ‘Freaking Everybody Out’

One of the great things about the Democratic primary debates, so far, was how they so clearly exposed the radical nature of today’s Democratic Party. That fact wasn’t lost on CNN following their second debate on Wednesday as they grilled former HUD Secretary Julian Castro; urging him to find another way to campaign on immigration and not call for “decriminalizing” illegal border crossings, a.k.a. “open borders.”

CNN’s struggle with Castro was perfectly encapsulated in the back and forth between the candidate and political commentator Van Jones, who urged for another solution because the current proposal was “freaking everybody out”:

Listen, man. Nobody’s heart is more broken watching the kids being abused and mistreated than me or you or anybody else here. It disgusts everybody. It disgusts the whole world. But isn't there some other way to deal with that than saying decriminalize the borer? Because the thing is it seems like, to me, you're trying to solve one problem which everybody cares about. But then you’re creating this other political problem which is freaking everybody out.

“I mean, is there some other answer, man? Cause, your answer has got the right motivation to try to protect those kids. But it seems like it’s causing political problems,” Jones whined.

 

 

Chief political analyst Gloria Borger cautioned Castro on how Trump would attack his plan if he was nominated. “If you're nominated, you’ll be running against Donald Trump, who wants to build a wall. And they can say about you: open borders. Open borders. All you want to do is open borders,” she said. “How do you respond to that quickly and say, ‘I really don't want to have open borders’ when you want to decriminalize?”

After Castro argued that any suggestion he was in favor of open borders was an untrue Republican talking point, senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson countered by pointing to a former Obama administration official who felt the same way:

You said it's a right-wing Republican talking point. But it's also Jeh Johnson’s talking point the DHS secretary wrote a piece in The Washington Post, where he said your plan to decriminalize the immigrants crossing into the border illegally; he said It was essentially open borders. So, it isn't a Republican talking point. It's actually coming from lots of Democratic strategists and the Obama administration or former officials.

“I respect Secretary Johnson and it's unfortunate that he’s basically adopting that right-wing talking point,” Castro spat. Immediately after the back and forth with Jones, the interview ended. CNN's worry must have stemmed from the idea that campaigning on open borders could cost them the election.

The transcript is below, click expand to read:

CNN Debate Post Analysis: Night 2
August 1, 2019
12:13 11 a.m. Eastern

(…)

GLORIA BORGER: Okay. Let's even say all Americans. Not popular. If you're nominated, you’ll be running against Donald Trump, who wants to build a wall. And they can say about you: open borders. Open borders. All you want to do is open borders. How do you respond to that quickly and say, “I really don't want to have open borders” when you want to decriminalize?

(…)

12:14:20 a.m. Eastern

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: You said it's a right-wing Republican talking point. But it's also Jay Johnson’s talking point the DHS secretary wrote a piece in The Washington Post, where he said your plan to decriminalize the immigrants crossing into the border illegally; he said It was essentially open borders. So, it isn't a Republican talking point. It's actually coming from lots of Democratic strategists and the Obama administration or former officials.

JULIAN CASTRO: I respect Secretary Johnson and it's unfortunate that he’s basically adopting that right-wing talking point.

(…)

12:15:16 a.m. Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER: So, if it's a civil fine. It’s against the law but it’s a civil fine, or civil penalty, what happens when somebody is intercepted?

CASTRO: Well what happens is, is what happens to a lot of folks right now: is you're still taken into custody and processed. You still have a court date. You still have to appear. If somebody is making asylum claim they can make their claim. They have to appear in court. If you're undocumented and not making an asylum claim. You still have to appear in court. If you repeatedly fail to show up in court, then that turns into a crime like it does for other civil offenses.

(…)

12:16:30 a.m. Eastern

VAN JONES: Listen, man. Nobody’s heart is more broken watching the kids being abused and mistreated than me or you or anybody else here. It disgusts everybody. It disgusts the whole world. But isn't there some other way to deal with that than saying decriminalize the borer? Because the thing is it seems like, to me, you're trying to solve one problem which everybody cares about. But then you’re creating this other political problem which is freaking everybody out.

So, can’t you come up with some proposal that says you can't mistreat these kids and protect the kids, without making seem like you're saying: “come one come all across the border?”.

I mean, is there some other answer, man? Cause, your answer has got the right motivation to try to protect those kids. But it seems like it’s causing political problems.

CASTRO: Look, Donald Trump has not been bashful in his cruelty. I'm not going to be bashful in my common sense and compassion. I just think, Van, that this is a time when we have to lead.

JONES: Yeah.

CASTRO: And I believe if we make the case, that --

JONES: But could you pass a law. I’m asking you because you know more than I do. Could you pass a law that just better protects those kids without decriminalizing the border? Is that possible or is it not possible?

CASTRO: I think that as long as that law is still there, you're going to have a tool that a future administration needs to do exactly what Donald Trump did.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Immigration Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Video Gloria Borger Nia-Malika Henderson Julian Castro Van Jones

Sponsored Links