AUSTIN (KXAN) — Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, held a community engagement event in Austin Saturday afternoon, allowing Austinites to ask the congressman questions about his stance on recent ICE arrests in the area.
Castro said that criminals need to be deported, but that others should be left alone.
“There are millions and millions of more people who do not fit in that category, who are peaceful people, who are here raising their families, paying their taxes, staying out of trouble, who have made a life here,” Castro said. “And I still believe, and the surveys tell us, a majority of Americans support a path to legalization for people like that.”
- MORE: ICE tells U.S. Rep. Castro that ICE is conducting Operation Cross Check in South and Central Texas
Castro was the first public official to confirm that immigration officials had increased operations in central and south Texas. He said he was told the arrests would last for five to eight days.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Austin, provided the following statement to KXAN: “I completely support sending criminal immigrants home. They should not be allowed to continue to prey on innocent Americans.”
The Mexican Consulate confirmed to KXAN Friday that 14 undocumented immigrants were detained Thursday, and another 30 were detained Friday. The consul general said while many have roots in the United States, most have also been found guilty of a crime.
Democrats have looked to Castro as a potential candidate for Ted Cruz’s Senate seat in 2018. He said he will announce his plans for 2018 in about eight weeks.