Months after passing the title to Dr. Ben Carson, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro is opening up about his progressive politics and confirming his role as a rising voice in the Democratic party. NBC Latino reports that while Castro denied predictions that he would run for a congressional seat in 2018 — standard operating procedure for politicians planning to run for office — he did confirm where his political alliances align.
According to NBC Latino, Castro has been speaking out against Texas legislation SB4, which pulls protections for undocumented immigrants in Texas and threatens sanctuary cities. This law bans sanctuary cities and establishes fines, or even jail time, for non-compliant law enforcement officers and city officials. Castro said in an interview with NBC Latino that this law allows for widespread discrimination.
“What Gov. (Greg) Abbott has done is the worst brand of politics and the worst policymaking that we’ve seen in generations in Texas” he said. “This is a show me your papers law that will ensure people of color are profiled in every city, in every town in Texas.”
Castro is also active on Twitter speaking out against this issue and many others.
“For Texas– now 40% Latino– to become a “show me your papers” state is insane. All to please extremist GOP base,” he wrote in a recent tweet.
Texans will fight. We don’t want to live in a “show me your papers” society. We don’t believe in profiling ppl based on their skin color. https://t.co/QM4jCpDkmd
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) May 8, 2017
The former HUD secretary also expressed concern over the GOP healthcare bill that recently passed in the House, telling NBC Latino that it leaves constituents completely out of the equation.
“The Republican Congress lived up to the worst stereotypes of American politics. They didn’t listen to their constituents who don’t like that bill and the vast majority of Americans don’t like the bill,” he said. “It’s going to cause premiums to skyrocket and people to lose insurance and they did that without reading the bill. That’s the worst kind of policymaking and this is why people hate Washington.”
These policies are in direct opposition to what Castro fought for as HUD Secretary. During his time in Washington, D.C. Castro was pushing for policy to combat issues like veteran homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. Days before President Trump’s inauguration, Castro said in an interview with Affordable Housing Finance that the current administration needs to carry on the efforts that happened under President Obama.
“HUD does tremendously impactful work. When somebody has a home, that makes a tremendous difference in his or her life,” he said. “At the same time, we want to be able to better measure how we’re avoiding intergenerational poverty and increasing upward mobility. We’ve made some good progress, but we still need to make more.”
Castro pointed out in the interview that some families in the United States spend over 50% of their income on housing, and affording a home can be really difficult for the 32% of home buyers purchasing for the first time. For Americans living in poverty, finding an affordable home or apartment can be nearly impossible.
Although the real estate market has rebounded since the peak of the housing crisis, many cities still struggle to provide low-income housing options. Even middle-class Americans are struggling. Due to a lack of inventory, home prices are rising fast in 2017, and new homes usually end up costing 10% more than the estimated price.
In his interview with Affordable Housing Finance, Castro said that he wished these issues had come up more during the 2016 election.
“Part of it is this is something that is quite local and effected by the local housing market, by local land-use regulations,” Castro said. “It’s not the most glamorous issue because it’s a fairly complex issue. It doesn’t lend itself to soundbites or easy talk on a campaign trail, but it’s tremendously important, so I was disappointed it didn’t receive more attention.”
As Castro continues to be a voice for marginalized communities in Texas and the U.S., he is also writing a memoir to tell his family’s story. He told NBC Latino that the book will contextualize his family history within the Latino experience in the American Southwest — a story that is becoming increasingly common.
In the meantime, the former housing secretary is proving he has no problem speaking his mind:
Banana republic territory. So Trump’s letter about firing was a complete lie. More bizarre behavior. Trump & this WH are a complete mess. https://t.co/RYVxrY2S0N
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) May 11, 2017