CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 04: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gives the keynote address on stage during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)2012 Getty Images
Austin, Texas – The Obama administration should change its deportation policy to protect undocumented immigrants who have family members who are U.S. citizens, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro says.
"We should look at people who have been here for more than 10 years, who do not have a serious criminal record and who have family members who are United States citizens," Castro, one of the Democratic Party's highest-profile Latinos, said in an interview with EFE.
The Mexican-American mayor urged the president to build on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects undocumented youth who would benefit from the long-stalled DREAM Act.
"My hope is that President Obama extends what he did with DACA for the DREAMers to ease deportations for people without serious criminal records who have families in the United States," Castro, 39, said.
While acknowledging that the Obama administration has options to reduce the number of deportations, which have already exceeded two million since 2009, the mayor believes that "the primary responsibility" for the plight of undocumented lies with Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Castro said that in San Antonio, the police chief has ordered officers not to inquire about residents' citizenship or immigration status.
With 1.3 million people, 63 percent of them Hispanic, San Antonio is the seventh-most-populous city in the United States.
Castro, the mayor of San Antonio since 2009, sees the Democratic Party as the logical and natural political grouping for the Hispanic community in the United States.
"The America of 2014 is better reflected in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party, but there is always room for more," he said regarding the presence of Latino politicians in responsible posts.
The mayor's twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic member of Congress.
The mayor does not think it is necessary in the 2016 presidential election for Democrats to have a candidate for president or vice president who is Hispanic, but he is certain that, sometime during his lifetime, there will be a Latino in the Oval Office.
Nevertheless, he rules out seeing the name Julian Castro in the national political arena in 2016. He says he is planning to run for re-election in 2015 in San Antonio and, if he wins, he will remain in office until the end of his mandate in 2017.