2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro called for changing border crossing from a criminal to a civil offense on Monday.
In a blog post, Castro, 44, pushed back on the current immigration system, calling it “inhumane and flawed.”
The former housing and urban development secretary advocated for removing Section 1325 from the law, a provision which has been in place since the 1920s.
“These laws got a new life in 2005 when the Bush administration decided to charge those that crossed the border with criminal violations, rather than civil ones,” Castro wrote.
“This shift to criminalize immigration is at the core of many of this administration’s most egregious immigration policies,” Castro wrote. “… Migration shouldn’t be a criminal justice issue. It’s time to end this draconian policy and return to treating immigration as a civil — not a criminal —issue.”
Castro said he is advocating for a “21st century Marshall Plan for Central America” in order to focus on stabilizing countries that contribute to large numbers of migrants heading to the U.S. such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The Marshall Plan was a U.S. initiative that gave billions of dollars in aid to Europe to help it recover after World War II.
Castro announced he was running for president in January but has struggled to make a name for himself in the crowded Democratic field. He served as housing and urban development secretary under former President Barack Obama from 2014-2017.