Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro clarified on Saturday his earlier comments about Obama-era deportations, HuffPost reports.
During the Democratic primary debate on Wednesday, Castro joined other candidates on the debate stage in an attack on the current front-runner Joe Biden.
During heated exchanges with the former vice president, Castro and other Democrats on the stage discussed former President Barack Obama’s immigration policy, pointing out that the former president had deported millions of undocumented workers during his two terms in the White House.
Now, Castro is walking back and clarifying his comments.
Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary was asked to clarify his remarks during the AFSCME’s forum on public service.
“This is not about criticizing President Obama,” he said, explaining that his criticism was meant to start a discussion about the next Democratic administration’s immigration policy.
“This is about, ‘OK, what does the next administration have to do in the face of a President Trump that is absolutely terrible.'”
“There’s no comparison between Obama and Trump,” he added.
Castro then explained that he believes there are significant differences between Obama and Trump’s immigration policies. According to the former HUD secretary, Trump has “weaponized” certain aspects of the American immigration system.
“President Obama was trying and that administration made adjustments and improved on immigration. However, Trump has weaponized a certain section of the law to inflict cruelty on migrant children and their parents, so there are lessons we can learn from this,” the Democrat said.
Although Trump has campaigned as an immigration hard-liner and continues to govern as one, his deportation numbers do not match Obama’s.
The former president, nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief” by immigration activist, deported more than 2.5 million undocumented immigrants between 2009 and 2015, more than any other president in history, according to ABC News.
According to The Washington Post, although deportations under Trump are on the rise, they are still significantly lower than Obama’s. For instance, Trump deported more than 256,000 people in 2018. In 2012, Obama deported 409,849 illegal immigrants, according to government data.
The candidates’ attempt to attack Biden by re-examining Obama-era policies has prompted the anger of party insiders, strategists, and Democratic think tank heads.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, White House hopefuls were urged to cease their attacks on the immensely popular former president and shift their attention to Trump.
Harvard professor, philosopher, and Bernie Sanders surrogate, Cornel West, discussed the party’s unwillingness to reckon with Obama’s legacy in a recent interview, opining that the only way to move forward is to have a “candid” conversation about the Obama presidency.