Four of the five surviving US Presidents headlined a civil rights summit that started in Texas on Tuesday and through the course of the meeting it became clear that a Democrat and a top Republican found common ground on the issue of immigration reform. The summit commenced with Julian Castro, the fast rising Democrat who is the current Mayor of San Antonio and top surrogate of President Obama, and Haley Barbour, the former Republican Governor of Mississippi, urging Congress to deal with the issue of immigration reform before the end of 2014.
“The stupidest thing we can do economically is make them leave,” Barbour said, speaking of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently estimated to be living and working in the United States. “We don’t have anybody to replace them, so the impracticality of sending them home should be obvious to one.”
The discussion was interrupted by a woman from within the audience who said that she was a Dreamer and demanded that Obama stop splitting up families with deportations. Castro, who was the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, did not respond to the woman directly, but later stated that he was troubled by cases of families being split up by immigration deportations enforced after minor legal infringements such as traffic stops.
“My hope is his administration will go about it in a different way,” Castro admitted. “I’m not comfortable with the number of deportations.” President Obama is expected to give the keynote address today.