Castro: A Wall Would Change the Notion of America

Later on, he concedes a physical barrier is necessary

Democratic candidate for president Julian Castro said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that a wall would change the notion of America from being welcoming to walling itself off to the rest of the world.

"But I believe fundamentally that if we were to build that wall, that it would change the notion of America from the Statue of Liberty that stands for freedom and welcomes immigrants to a country that literally walls itself off from the rest of the world," Castro said.

For over a month, President Donald Trump and Congress were in a standoff over funding for Trump's proposed wall along the southern border. The standoff resulted in a partial government shutdown which reopened on Friday after Trump announced a deal that would fund the government for three weeks while him and Congress work on a deal pertaining to border security.

It is uncertain if the two parties can make a deal in the next three weeks as Trump is determined to get funding for his wall. Meanwhile Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) is adamant that no money will be used for a wall and has even went as far to call the wall "immoral."

Castro was asked by CNN host Jake Tapper if he agreed with Pelosi's "immoral" comment.

"Well, I don't think it represents the best of what America stands for. I believe that if we were to build the kind of wall that Donald Trump is talking about and admittedly, as you know, sometimes that's hard to figure out because some days it's a beautiful big concrete wall and other days it's steel slats and then he says it's something else," Castro said. "And maybe that wouldn't make much of a difference on day one when we do that, but I believe that as years go by, it would change how we see ourselves as Americans … Yeah, I agree that to do so would be immoral."

Tapper followed up asking Castro about the existing fencing along the border.

"If there are already 654 miles of barrier fencing, wall, why would adding 100 miles more change the notion of this nation any more than … We already have that. Why would adding any more change who we are?" Tapper asked.

"No, I would say two things. Number one that that 654 miles was built out some time ago and that was built out when the technology to be able to monitor what is happening at the border was not what it is today," Castro answered. "In other words, that's an old style of doing things. and we have a more effective way without that kind of barrier to it."

Castro went on to concede that some physical barriers are necessary along the border.

"The other argument that people have made that I believe is true is that we've addressed where we might, where you might argue that, OK, you need a physical structure, a physical barrier. That was addressed in those 654 miles. and that's not the case for the rest," Castro said.

Earlier this month, Castro announced his candidacy and has unveiled an array of policy platforms like universal pre-kindergarten.