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Julián Castro, entering 2020 race, calls Trump a "failed leader" on immigration

Full interview of Julián Castro on "Face the Nation"
Full interview of Julián Castro on "Face the Nation" 11:12

Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary who announced Saturday he is running for president, says President Trump is a "failed leader" on immigration and called for an end of detentions of families seeking asylum at the southern border.

"He's a failed leader on this issue, and now he's just trying to stoke his political base by bringing up the wall all the time," Castro said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "And it's just a failure of leadership all around. I would end this kind of family detention."

Castro, who is Mexican-American, made his presidential announcement in San Antonio, his hometown and the city where he served as mayor for five years. He served as HUD Secretary under President Obama.

In the "Face the Nation" interview, Castro said as president he would "make sure that we invest in sensible, smart and effective border security that includes personnel, that includes the smart use of technology and that does not scapegoat these immigrants, but tries to look for a way that we can get to comprehensive immigration reform to fix our broken immigration system." 

He criticized Mr. Trump's policy of family separations at the southern border, saying it has not deterred more families coming from Central American countries. "Actually the exact opposite happened," he said.

Castro also said he supports "Medicare for all" to transform the U.S. health care system. 

"I'm under no illusion that accomplishing something like Medicare for all would be easy," he said. "But I do believe that in this nation, in the richest nation on earth, that not a single person should be without health care when they need it."

Castro, whose campaign slogan is "One Nation. One Destiny," acknowledged he has an uphill battle ahead of him to capture the Democratic nomination among what is likely to be a crowded field of contenders.

"I'm under no illusion right now that I'm in the poll position or anything," Castro said. "I'm not a front-runner, but nobody who grew up here in these neighborhoods, including myself, has ever been a front-runner. And I think in this country right now, that there are a lot of people who don't feel like front-runners. And I'm going to go speak to them in this campaign."

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