In the face of Donald Trump's continually escalating attacks on non-white immigrants as "criminals"," drug dealers", "human traffickers" "gang members" and "terrorists" who are "invading" and "infesting" America; and his latest threats to close the Mexican border against not only legal immigration (which is already under severe attack on many other fronts from his administration) but also trade, with all the economic devastation to America that would be involved, it is refreshing to know that there is at least one political figure who has a detailed immigration plan based on the belief that immigrants are human beings deserving of human rights, not "animals" or rodents, as in Trump's rhetoric.

On April 2, Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and former head of the federal Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD), who is an announced 2020 presidential candidate, unveiled a comprehensive immigration plan based on America's true values of diversity, racial equality and respect foe the rights of all people, regardless of ethnic background, religion or country of origin. The full plan, called People First Immigration Policy is available at:

https://www.julianforthefuture.com/news-events/people-first-immigration-policy/


Here are the 21 main points of the plan::

1) Establish an inclusive roadmap to citizenship for undocumented individuals and families who do not have a current pathway to legal status,

2) Provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and those under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure,

3) Revamp the visa system and strengthen family reunification,

4) Terminate the three and ten year bars,

5) Rescind Trump's discriminatory Muslim and Refugee ban,

6) Increase Refugee admissions,

7) End cooperation agreements under Section 287(g) of the INA,

8) Allow all deported veterans who honorably served in the armed forces of the United States to return to the United States,

9) Strengthen labor protections for skilled and unskilled guest workers,
(One might add to this that visa and petition/application protections should also be put in place to control the epidemic of unjustified, biased and politically motivated RFE's and denials, along with lengthy and unreasonable processing delays, which even the most skilled and highly educated professional workers are facing under the Trump administration's policies of drastically reducing all immigration from non-white parts of the world.)

10) Protect victims of domestic violence,

11) Repeal Section 1325 of the INA (which makes certain immigration violations criminal offenses),

12) Effectively end the use of detention in conducting immigration enforcement, except in serious cases,

13) Eliminate the for-profit immigration and detention prison industry,
(One cannot also help thinking of the major German companies that profited from Nazi concentration camp system - Is this something that we really want to happen in America?)

14) End immigration enforcement raids at or near sensitive locations

15) Reconstitute ICE
(to end abuses by that agency),

16) Reprioritize CBP (for the same purpose),

17) Stop border wall construction,

18) End asylum "metering" and the "remain in Mexico" policy
(which are both egregious violations of both US and international human rights law),

19) Create a well resourced and independent immigration court system,

20) Increase access to legal assistance

21) Protect victims of domestic and gang violence
(by reversing guidance by formerAGJeff Sessions that would bar asylum claims based on these grounds).

To be sure, there could be room for nitpicking, tweaking and further review/discussion about the details of these points. The media have seized on certain items, such as reconstituting ICE to end its human rights abuses, and sensationalized them to blow them all out of proportion.

But, taken as a whole, these proposals are a blueprint for a humanistic, compassionate immigration system that respects the dignity of every human being rather than judging people by their skin color, religion or national origin, as not only Donald Trump and his white supremacist "base" allies are doing, but as America's entire immigration system has done for far too long.

Julian Castro's enlightened, humanistic, immigration plan deserves to me taken seriously - and to be implemented, as much as possible, and as soon as possible.



Roger Algase
Attorney at Law