Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro dove into the 2020 presidential race Saturday, becoming the latest Democratic contender for his party's nomination with a speech in his hometown.
In a Saturday morning speech at San Antonio's Plaza Guadalupe, Castro denounced President Donald Trump's immigration policies-including his demand for billions of dollars in border wall funding that's produced the longest government shutdown in US history-and his charaterization of refugees from Central and South America arriving at the Southern border as "a national security crisis".
"I am a candidate for president of the United States", the 44-year-old Castro told a crowd in San Antonio's historic Guadalupe Plaza, during a speech that frequently invoked the immigrant heritage that brought his family to the USA from Mexico. Castro is among the first in a long list of expected Democratic candidates to officially announce their bids.
Castro's strong oratory skills, experience in the Obama cabinet and as mayor of the nation's seventh largest city, not to mention his telegenic charisma, could help propel the Texas native into the top tier of Democratic candidates.
The presidential candidacy is Castro's first attempt for office beyond Texas' second-most populous city.
Whether or not it was timing to not get into either of those races, Castro feels he is the right person to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Former Maryland Representative John Delaney also has formally entered the race.
"Yes, we must have border security, but there is a smart and humane way to do it". "And there is no way in hell that caging babies is the right way to do it".
"We say no to building a wall and say yes to building community", he added, to roars from the crowd.
Hispanic activists were already celebrating Castro's potential run for the White House, arguing his politics and life story served as an antidote to the Trump presidency, which has always been characterized by anti-immigrant rhetoric. He also stressed the value of hard work, which he said he and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), learned from their immigrant grandmother and their single mother.
"Today we're falling backwards instead of moving forward". There are about 700,000 young "Dreamers" who were brought into the US illegally as children; advocates want to provide them with protection deportation and a chance to apply for citizenship.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California this past week published a memoir, a staple of presidential candidates.
Asking for an America that is the "smartest, healthiest and fairest" nation on Earth, Castro touted his support for universal health care; pre-kindergarten for all, based on a program he sponsored as mayor of San Antonio; affordable higher education, justice and immigration reform, and more attention on combating climate change.
Castro formed an exploratory committee in December. Castro delivered his speech in both English and Spanish!
Castro was raised primarily by his grandmother - who he called Mamo - and Rosie Castro, his Chicana political activist mother, eventually excelling enough to attend Stanford University and, eventually, Harvard Law School. Obama picked him to be housing secretary in 2014.
Castro was vetted as a potential vice-presidential running mate to Hillary Clinton in 2016, but was overlooked as Virginia senator Tim Kaine was given the role.