San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro joined former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour this week to kick off the Civil Rights Summit in Austin and to discuss the topic of immigration as a civil rights issue.
Castro told the crowd that a reform of the United States immigration system will enhance civil rights by bringing people out of the shadows, creating situations where immigrants aren’t afraid to report crimes, send their kids to school and get the care they need for their families.
Castro is optimistic that the immigration system will be reformed in 2014 and Barbour shares that thought, but said it can’t be the only thing U.S. lawmakers are focused on.
“You kid yourself if you say, 'Well, we’ll just kind of ignore border security and visa enforcement and move on,' because the public’s not going to tolerate not getting a secure border as part of this process,” Barbour said.
Castro said the border is more secure than it ever has been.
“And the numbers and resources at the border suggest that; however, it does make sense to set a marker for progress in this legislation and to hold folks accountable for that progress,” Castro said.
Castro said politically, that will be a necessary component to get an immigration reform bill passed in Congress, but can’t be the only component.