Julian Castro

16th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and 181st Mayor of San Antonio

Julian Castro (born September 16, 1974) is an American Democratic politician who served as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017, the youngest member of the Obama Cabinet.


  • My brother Joaquin and I grew up with my mother Rosie and my grandmother Victoria. My grandmother was an orphan. As a young girl, she had to leave her home in Mexico and move to San Antonio, where some relatives had agreed to take her in.
  • I guess I would have to explain the difference between Mexican and Cuban, you know?

Interview with Democracy Now (August 2020)

  • I think that Senator Sanders did a wonderful job. I think Michelle Obama was very powerful last night. But you’re right with Senator Sanders that — look, one of the things I noticed out there right now is that whether people are liberal or conservative, they’re Republican, Democrat, independent, what they want are solutions. And I think what Bernie did well in highlighting was this is what electing Joe Biden is going to mean for you and your family — raising the minimum wage, healthcare, a number of other things that are going to make people’s lives better. That’s what I think people want to know. You know, how is this person going to make my life and the life of my family and the country better than it is today? I think we’ve gotten to a point that because there’s so much back-and-forth on cable news, because people are so polarized, that folks that don’t love politics, that don’t follow it all the time, they sort of — they tend to shy away from it even more than usual right now, shy away from that conversation. And the best way, I think, to get their attention is to say, “OK, well, this is how it’s going to be different in a positive way.” And he did that, which was great.
  • we can’t ignore the fact, of course, that this president is trying to suppress the vote as a strategy to rig this election and win.
  • I’m glad to see local communities across the country that are engaging in deeper thinking about investing in mental health counseling, social workers, housing opportunity, because so many of the calls that police officers are asked to respond to are for people that are homeless or have a mental health issue, that they don’t need an armed cop. The vast majority of them are not violent. What they need is they need services, so that they can get onto a better life. And cities across the country, whether we’re talking about Los Angeles or San Francisco or Austin, Texas, just up the road from me, recently, are moving in that direction. And Joe Biden has said that he wants to work with local communities as they do that. All of that is positive. And as he said, we need to keep pushing.
  • I do think — I agree with you on the issue of representation. You know, last week, I think the count had been that there were 35 primetime speakers, and only three of them were Latinx. And I raised, you know, a concern about that and also, at that time, a lack of representation among Native Americans and Muslim Americans, because I don’t believe that that represents the — that represented the beautiful coalition that Democrats have put together.
  • what I think is important for folks to realize out there — and now I’m speaking, you know, directly to the Latinx community — is that it’s night and day with Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. Donald Trump has been the cruelest, most ill-intentioned president when it comes to not only immigrants, migrants, but the broader Latino community, scapegoated the community, otherized the community, uses it as a political piñata. And Joe Biden is somebody who brings compassion, who brings understanding, and, most importantly — because what you want to judge politicians on is, OK, what are you going to do, and what is your track record — has a track record of expanding opportunity, with Barack Obama. The Affordable Care Act expanded healthcare to 4 million — more than 4 million Latinx folks in this country. On educational opportunity, on violence against women, on housing opportunity. I remember going to Delaware with him — I think it was Veterans Day of 2016 — and marking the effective end of veteran homelessness there in Wilmington, and seeing how much that meant to him. So, this is somebody that is going to work to make life better for everybody in this country, in a way that Donald Trump — as Michelle Obama pointed out, Donald Trump just isn’t up to it and doesn’t want to do it.
  • Greg Abbott has been in the same boat as Donald Trump and governors like Ducey in Arizona and DeSantis in Florida. It’s this putting right-wing ideology over the public health and science. when he reopened the state in early May, he made three mistakes, reopening too early. When they reopened, they didn’t have the two things in place that public health experts tell us you need to have in place, which was robust testing and robust contact tracing. In fact, at the time, Texas ranked 48th per capita in terms of the number of tests that were happening. And then, third, when communities across the state begged the governor to be able to tailor their own safety precautions, require masks or do other things, the governor said, “No, my order supersedes you. You can’t do that,” opened up the bars and restaurants, and then basically made it worse here in the state of Texas for everybody, and has hurt the economy because of that — and admitted, for instance, that he made a mistake in opening the bars up too early. So, it’s just, you know, we can’t rely — in the middle of a global pandemic, you cannot rely on people that are putting their own political ideology and interests ahead of basic science and the public health. That is in nobody’s interest. That’s exactly what Greg Abbott has done.

Interview with Democracy Now (2019)

  • we wanted to highlight especially the claims of members of the LGBTQ community and also one person who is disabled. She’s deaf. We were highlighting them specifically because under the terms of the “Remain in Mexico” policy itself, somebody with a physical issue or mental health trauma is supposed to be exempted. In other words, they’re supposed to be allowed to remain in the United States while their claim is adjudicated, instead of being sent back to Mexico. These members of the LGBTQ community, they have been persecuted. They’ve been subjected to violence. They’ve been threatened. They’re suffering trauma and, some of them, PTSD. And so, we believe that they should qualify for that exemption because of the mental health trauma they’re going through. And the person who is deaf has a physical disability, a physical issue. She never should have been put in that program in the first place.
  • I went over there, as I mentioned, there are over a thousand people. They’re all living in tents. They told me, to a person, that they don’t have clean water to drink, that a lot of the kids there are sick. I saw children as young as 12 days old, a baby that was 12 days old. They’re living basically in a field that’s right near the river, the Rio Grande river, and right next to the border station. So, these are people who are in desperate circumstances, living in unsanitary conditions, in squalor, not knowing what’s going to happen to them, and pleading for help.
  • I did not see that op-ed, but I think that Jorge puts it very well there, that — you know, that this was something that Mexico agreed to. And to me, that was surprising, given the history of López Obrador and what I thought he would stand for and do once he was in office.
    • Juan González (journalist): "Secretary Castro, I wanted to ask you, because, obviously, Mexico has to participate in this “Remain in Mexico” policy. And I don’t know if you saw the op-ed piece that Jorge Ramos, the co-anchor of the national Univision News had in The New York Times this week, where he said Mexico may not be paying for the wall, the Trump wall, but Mexico has effectively become the wall and is participating in this attempt of President Trump to prevent more people from coming into the country. I’m wondering about your sense of the Mexican policy under President López Obrador?"
  • he should end this policy. If I were elected president, I would immediately end this “Remain in Mexico” policy. It flies in the face of the United States policy of allowing people who are making a claim of asylum to remain in the United States while their claim is adjudicated.
  • we actually need to create an independent immigration court system, that’s independent from the Department of Justice, with enough judges and support staff to hear these asylum claims and get people an answer in a timely manner. Some people will get asylum. We also know that some people will not. But people should not be waiting years to get an answer on their asylum claim.
  • I mean, that’s the product of a deranged mind right there. What else can we say about that, except that’s an individual with a deranged mind and, obviously, a lot of hate toward these migrants? And, you know, this is the caliber of person that’s sitting in the Oval Office right now. It’s just one more example of why he should not be president of the United States, somebody who is not only hateful, but who is so divorced from reality that he would, on multiple occasions, bring up the idea of shooting people. It makes no sense.
    • "Amy Goodman: Let me ask you about The New York Times report recently reporting President Trump privately pushed for shooting migrants and for creating a, quote, “water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators,” along the U.S.-Mexico border; the Times also detailing how Trump has privately proposed other radical measures to curtail immigration, including closing the entire U.S.-Mexico border and building an electrified border wall topped with spikes to pierce human flesh; the Times revealing Trump has repeatedly raised the idea of shooting migrants during staff meetings; the paper reporting, “After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.” The Times article is based on the new book, Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration, by the Times reporters Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Julián Castro, if you could respond?"
  • my hope is that this president is going to be held to account for what he’s done in terms of violating his oath of office and abusing his power, that he will be impeached, that he will be removed from office. If he is not impeached and removed, he’s going to be defeated on November 3rd, 2020, and that this nightmare, with respect to how he’s treating migrants, will be over.
  • What I believe is that our diversity in this country makes us strong, that we can harness the potential of immigrants, and that, for generations, immigrants, both documented and undocumented, have made this country stronger, have powered our economy, have helped ensure that we continue to move forward as a nation. And that’s going to continue to be the case in the future. And I believe that we should increase the number of people that we’re taking in as refugees and asylees, and that we should put undocumented immigrants who are here in the United States on a pathway to citizenship, as long as they have not committed a serious crime here in the United States. That’s what I would do as president.

An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream (2018)

  • we, as Americans, are more alike than different.
  • As a Mexican American, I had a common history with many of the families seeking asylum. The issue of immigration is a complicated and ever-evolving one, but so many folks forget that their own lineage can be traced to another land, another nation, to a moment when their family's survival depended on the empathy and acceptance of strangers. It's no secret that most of us came here because America represented a land of expanding opportunities, a place where one could reach previously unimaginable heights of success through hard work. Times and circumstances change, I realize. But while it's easy to talk about the American dream, every once in a while we need to wake up and ensure that it is not becoming obsolete.
  • College is fantastic for a variety of reasons, but that opportunity to bond with people of very different backgrounds, to pull knowledge-big and small-from such a diverse pool, is invaluable, especially in the formative years.
  • This inequity in our country's education system has never stopped seeming like one of our most chronic problems.
  • I realized that I would be much better off just being myself around people. That way I'd attract friends who liked the real me, not some person I was trying to be.
  • One of the most interesting classes I took, "Europe and the Americas," detailed the systematic and brutally efficient decimation of indigenous peoples and cultures. One of the required books, I, Rigoberta Menchú, recounted the struggle of indigenous Guatemalans. Later on, in "Imagining the Holocaust," I heard the horrific account of what happened to Jews during World War II. At Stanford I was forced to pull back from my tight community and understand how a common thread ran through so many other cultures around the world where people had to fight for their rights.
  • Teaching is one of the most creative and exhausting jobs I have ever had. Clever political adversaries, irate constituents, and elbow-throwing litigators were never as tough to handle as those students were on a daily basis.
  • he (Barack Obama) said, in Spanish that was pretty damn good, "Julián ha vivido el Sueño Americano." Julián has lived the American dream.
  • Embrace your own unlikely journey.

Quotes about Julián Castro

  • You famously said to Biden, “I’ve learned the lessons of the past, but you haven’t.”
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