San Antonio Mayer Julian Castro sent a message to the Obama administration that it should change its deportation policy to protect undocumented immigrants with family members who are citizens.
"We should look at people who have been here for more than 10 years, who do not have a serious criminal record and who have family members who are United States citizens," Castro said in an interview with EFE.
Castro, a Mexican-American, also urged the president not to abandon the DREAM act, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that was first put into effect to protect young people brought into the country illegally as children.
"My hope is that President Obama extends what he did with DACA for the DREAMers to ease deportations for people without serious criminal records who have families in the United States," said the 39-year-old mayor.
Castro voiced his conviction that the Republican-controlled House holds “the primary responsibility” to reform procedure for undocumented residents, though the president’s administration should also take measures to reduce the historically high number of deportations.
San Antonio’s population is 63 percent Hispanic, so the issue hits close to home. The San Antonio police chief has ordered officers not to inquire about immigration status, Castro said.
The mayor said he’d be staying out of national politics in 2016, but will be running for reelection in San Antonio in 2015.
"The America of 2014 is better reflected in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party, but there is always room for more," he said about Latinos in politics. Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman.
During a televised debate Tuesday with Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick, Castro took Patrick to task over his comments about "illegal invasion from Mexico" and immigrants bringing "third-world diseases" into the country.