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Castro calls for end to Trump's "draconian" immigration policies

 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro says President Trump's immigration policies are draconian.
Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro has launched a far-reaching immigration reform policy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro told MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Tuesday the U.S. needs immigration and if President Trump's policies aren't reversed, the nation may end up "begging" for migrants.

QuoteSeveral of the industries in this country benefit already from their labor. We need a young and vibrant workforce. ... immigrants seeking refuge in our country aren’t a threat to national security. "

The big picture: Castro's comments came as he launched his far-reaching "People First" immigration reform policy. The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who served under then-President Obama, told Maddow he wants to return to treating immigration treating immigration as a civil issue, rather than a criminal one.

"We should decriminalize people who are coming here, crossing the border. ... We need to end detention. I don't think we should be putting people in cages. We need to increase the number of refugees that we take into this country. ...
"The truth is, immigrants seeking refuge in our country aren’t a threat to national security. Migration shouldn’t be a criminal justice issue. It’s time to end this draconian policy ..."

The other side: For the president, the issue is very much a security one. Trump said earlier Tuesday shutting the southern border was "going to have a negative impact on the economy," the New York Times reports. "[But] security is more important to me than trade."

Go deeper: Julián Castro: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate