Julián Castro takes questions at CNN town hall

11:23 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

4 key quotes from Julián Castro's town hall

Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro just wrapped his CNN town hall, where he addressed a host of issues, including climate change, the legalization of marijuana and President Trump.

In case you missed it, here are four key quotes:

  • On a new report that the White House pressured ICE to move undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities or top Democrats' districts: "The cruelty of this administration never seems to end."
  • On presidential candidates releasing their tax returns: "I support making a requirement by statute. Congress passing a law that requires people who are running for president to submit 10 years of their tax returns."
  • On his advice to Trump: "Follow the law."
  • On the legalization of marijuana: "I actually support the legalization of marijuana...On top of that we need to go back and expunge the records of people who were imprisoned because of using marijuana."
11:14 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Castro hopes his candidacy inspires young Latino boys and girls

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro reflected on being the only Latino candidate running for president in 2020 on Thursday, telling CNN’s Don Lemon that he hopes his candidacy will inspire young Latino boys and girls to believe they could run for president someday too.

Castro, whose grandmother, Victoria Castro, was born in the Mexican border state of Coahuila, and crossed into the United States at Eagle Pass, Texas, in 1922 after her parents died during the Mexican Revolution, went on to say that he could “imagine the tears in her eyes” watching his run.

“I’m very proud of my background. And I think voters are going to make it the decision on a lot of things, your experience, your message, how everybody gets out their future and delivers their vision of the country, your track record,” he said. “But to me it is meaningful to be able to run right now when the Latino community feels like this president has put a target on their back.”

He added: “And my hope, is that not only will I be offering a different vision for the future of this… but also, that I could be some little Latino boys or girls that say, ‘hey… if he’s doing that I can do that, then I can do that too.’”
11:05 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Castro says he supports weed legalization and would expunge marijuana convictions

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro said he supports the legalization of marijuana, and would also move to expunge criminal records for anyone imprisoned because of marijuana.

"I actually support the legalization of marijuana," he said.

Castro said he would back "a well regulated, legalized system of marijuana," which already exists in Colorado and other states.

He went on to address marijuana convictions.

"On top of that we need to go back and expunge the records of people who were imprisoned because of using marijuana. And this is important. This part is important, in part, because there are a lot of people, and folks in this audience probably know some of them who have served jail time, right, and disproportionately it's impacted communities of color and poor neighborhoods of people who have been imprisoned because of marijuana use. So it's not enough just to say we want to legalize it. We actually want to go back and expunge these records. And we need to make sure that we take and we want to take the best practices of states like Colorado and other places that have legalized so that in the future states that do it afterward can get the best of that knowledge and not hit as many bumps in the road as some places have hit before," he said.

Castro's answer came after a light-hearted moment with special education teacher Aaron Stone, who asked about his position about legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults.

"It's all right, man, look, your last name is Stone; I won't assume you're a stoner. My last name is Castro; don't assume I'm a dictator," the former San Antonio mayor said.

10:47 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Castro's advice to Trump: "Follow the law"

If Julián Castro got a chance to deliver a piece of advice to President Trump, he said he would tell him: "Follow the law."

Castro elaborated on his answer, saying that Trump needs to respect Congress and the courts.

"You know, for any other president that might sound like a joke, right, but look what this President has tried to do. Declaring a national emergency so that he can get his wall funding. I believe it's against the law. The way that he has moved forward on a number of different policies. What they're talking about today, just the news that people are seeing tonight, the breaking news about trying to get undocumented immigrants shipped into communities where political opponents represent. You know, I would tell this President that he is not above the law, that he needs to follow the law and understand that our constitution created three, co-equal branches so that he should respect Congress and respect the courts and I think that's going to make for a better nation if he did that."

10:36 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Castro: The US has never fully addressed "the original sin of slavery"

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro defended his support on paying reparations to African American families whose ancestors were slaves by arguing that the United States has “never fully addressed in this country the original sin of slavery.”

“Because of that we have never truly healed as a country,” Castro said. “If we compensate people under our constitution, if we take their property why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were considered property and sanctioned as property by the state?”

Castro went on to say that he supports legislation from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee that would appoint a commission to determine how reparations would be paid.

Reparations have become one of the many policy issues debated during the 2020 nomination process, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris indicating that they are somewhat supportive of reparations. Most candidates have said they are supportive of the Lee bill that would study the issue.

10:29 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Castro: "We need to restore integrity to the White House"

The one thing former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said he learned in the Obama administration is integrity.

"We need to restore integrity to the White House," he said.

Castro went on to praise former President Barack Obama and his family for leading with "grace and class."

"President Obama was somebody that so many people look up to as a role model. And he and first lady Michelle Obama and their children led with such grace and class and we miss that these days. In terms of something that I learned that I think, you know, we can take next time when we have a Democratic administration it would be probably to be bold about implementing the kind of changes that we need," he said.

10:27 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Castro: Presidential candidates should be required by law to release tax returns

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said Thursday that he believes presidential candidates should be required by law to release their taxes in order to ascend to the presidency.

“I support making a requirement by statute. Congress passing a law that requires people who are running for president to submit 10 years of their tax returns,” Castro said. “It is astonishing that this President still has not released his taxes, even though he said, at one point, that he would.”

Castro went on to say that he hoped congressional Democrats, who are looking to get a hold of Trump’s taxes, are successful.

“I hope they get them because it is clear that he has something to hide. I don't," Castro said. “So during the next few weeks I look forward to releasing 10 years of my tax returns.”

Trump declining to release his tax returns had made the issue key in the 2020 Democratic nomination process, with a series of candidates either releasing or pledging to release their taxes.