Obama’s former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro wants to be America’s next president, and he has some bold new ideas on how to fix the problems plaguing the country.
Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio and youngest member of Obama’s cabinet from 2014 to 2017, announced his intent to run for POTUS in 2020 on Saturday.
The grandson of a Mexican immigrant, Castro told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” he would take a different approach than the Trump administration to folks crossing the southern border illegally, though he’s apparently unaware that his bright idea is already in use.
“What I believe we could do and what the Obama administration did do, I believe, toward the end of its tenure, was to look at things like ankle monitors so that you’re able to monitor where people are in the country,” he told the news station, according to the Washington Examiner.
Rather than detain those who break the law, Castro would treat them as probationers and reward those who cooperate with citizenship.
“We also need to be serious about recognizing the right of people to seek asylum, and the president is playing games with this, blocking people’s right to seek asylum. I would change that,” he said. “I would make sure that we push as hard as possible for comprehensive immigration reform, so that for people who are already here, if they’ve been law abiding, if they pay a fine, that they can get an earned path to citizenship.”
The problem is, ankle monitors aren’t a bold or new idea, and apparently they don’t work.
The Associated Press reported in August that the federal government is issuing thousands of ankle monitors to illegal immigrants and the devices work great to get people to show up to court, until deportation proceedings begin.
After that, many illegal immigrants ditch the devices and run.
According to the AP:
As of early July, there were nearly 84,500 active participants in ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, or alternatives to detention — more than triple the number in November 2014. Around 45 percent of those were issued GPS monitors.
ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke said immigration court attendance is strong for immigrants in intensive supervision, but that ankle monitors and other measures are “not an effective tool” after deportation orders are issued. There isn’t reliable information on the number of ankle monitor recipients who remove them and flee, but many say it’s high.
“People can just cut those things off if they want to,” said Sara Ramey, a San Antonio immigration attorney whose asylum-seeking clients are routinely assigned ankle monitors.
The most recent available data was in 2012, when a contractor’s annual report showed that 17,524 people, or around 65 percent of nearly 40,500 total participants, left the intensive supervision program that year. Of those, around a fifth were deported or granted asylum, while about 5 percent “absconded.” The rest were arrested, violated other program rules or were no longer required to participate for unspecified reasons.
One immigrant waiting for a case worker in Houston told the news service many of the men simply “cut them lose and take off,” while two former case workers said those who do are rarely tracked down.
“ICE has other priorities,” one of the case workers said.
Castro’s uninformed comments drew a quick rebuke from the Republican National Committee, which dubbed him “one of the biggest lightweights to ever run for president.”