'Open borders is just a right-wing talking point. It always has been': Julian Castro

George Stephanopoulos sits down with 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro to discuss President Trump meeting Kim Jong Un, the immigration plan he proposed during the debates and more.
8:09 | 07/01/19

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Transcript for 'Open borders is just a right-wing talking point. It always has been': Julian Castro
Okay, Jon Karl, thanks very much from Seoul. A response from the Democrats. Julian Castro joins us now. Thank you for joining us this morning. Let's start out with the first president to stand on the North Korea soil. Would president Castro have made the same move? Look, I'm all for speaking with our adversaries, but what's happened here is that this president has raised the profile of a dictator like Kim Jong-un, and now three times visited with him unsuccessfully, because he's doing it backward. Usually what happens, as you know George, that there's an intense amount of staff work that goes into negotiating how one of these talks will go. So you hopefully can get something out of it. We haven't gotten anything out of it. After they had the first summit, the Singapore summit, he told the American people that north Korea was no longer a threat. Then after that, they continued to test their nuclear weapons. And they haven't even abided by one of the commitments that they made originally which was to given a inventory of their nuclear stockpile. So, you know, it's worrisome that this president erratically sets up a meeting without the staff work being done, it seems like it's all for show, it's not substantive, as Jonathan said in his report. We're left to believe, what progress are we making? At the same time the cost to the United States and his allies is that he's raising a profile, growing the strength of a dictator. So you think he gave a gift to Kim Jong-un? I think that he should put the work in beforehand and hold him accountable to the commitment that he made in the Singapore summit. I don't think it's fitting for the United States to continue to erratically meet with a dictator when they haven't abided by the first terms. A year ago. Okay, let's talk about the debate Wednesday night. You had a breakthrough performance. You talked about wanting to decriminalize of immigrants coming into the United States. Right now, make it a civil penalty. You're drawing a lot of heat for that also for the plans that all Democrats they wanted to give access to health care to undocumented immigrants. President trump had a tweet while he was overseas, all Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited health care. How about that taking care of American citizens first? That's the end of that race. Followed by "The New York post"next morning. Who wants to lose the election? As all Democrats raised their hands. Did you given a opening to Republicans? Not at all. What I'd like all American taxpayers to know, right now, number one, undocumented immigrants already pay a lot of secondly, we already pay for the health care of undocumented immigrants. It's called the emergency room. People show up in the emergency room and they get care as they should and then third, it's the right thing to do. We're not going to let people living in this country die because they can't see a doctor. That's not who we are as Americans. The question is, at what cost? When you add up all the proposals you're calling for right now, decriminalization of crossing the border, no deportation, absent other crimes, the offer of health care benefits, a possible path to citizenship, isn't that effectively open borders not limiting immigration in any real way? I would challenge you there, George, on a couple of things. Number one, there's no way we can call that open boarders. We have fencing. Because we have thousands of personnel at the border, we have planes, we have helicopters, boats, security cameras, guns, that's by no stretch of the imagination open borders, and secondly, there's still a civil court process. There are still people who are being deported, there are people applying for asylum who don't receive or not granted asylum, so open borders is just a right-wing talking point. It always has been. It doesn't matter what Democrats do on this issue. President trump and the Republicans are always going to say Democrats are for open borders. I have a completely different vision -- a better, stronger vision of how we can be more effective, more humane and smarter on border security and immigration. You know, this president has wasted 2 1/2 years, he knew that we had a flow of people that were coming from Central America when he became president in January 2017. He should have done what I called for, 21st century martial plan, with those northern triangle plans so they can find safety and opportunity at home. What is your limiting principal on allowing people in and giving them asylum. There are wide swaths of the world mired in poverty, mired in areas where there's high crime, anyone who's facing that kind of poverty, that kind of crime should get asylum? No, and that's not the system we have now. We have a system to consider asylum claims, based on certain criteria. I agree with people who say look, in theory can we take everyone who would like to be in the United States? Nobody has called for that. I do believe, however, and I have put forward an immigration plan that would accept more people. I'll give you an example of that. My statute for the late '70s, early '80s we can take in 110,000 refugees annually. Right now, we're only taking in between 30,000 and 40,000 refugees. I'd like to see that go up to the statutory limit. So nobody has called for unlimited number of people coming to this country. But I do believe that we should expand that significantly and we're big enough to do that. There have been times in our history in this country where we have taken in a lot more people and we have become a stronger nation. What is underlying this is the fear and paranoia the president is stoking. I refuse to believe, because it's not true, the people are coming because they're desperate, lot of the women and children represent some sort of national security threat or cultural threat to this country. That's bull. Let's talk for medicare for all. Something that's dividing Democrats right now and whether or not private insurance should be eliminated. You weren't on the stage on Thursday night with Bernie Sanders. You've been against eliminating private insurance. Why is Bernie Sanders wrong? Well, I think that Bernie's right in the sense of that everyone who wants medicare who should have it. I believe if you want medicare in this country, we should strengthen medicare for the people on it. And then make it available for all who want it. I also believe that someone who has a private health insurance plan and they want to hold on to it, they should be allowed to hold on to that. I think we can accomplish both of those things. I also agree with Bernie Sanders when he says that, you know, there's a lot of profit that goes into these insurance companies and big pharma. We need to put more of those resources into actually providing care for Americans. So, you know, we agree on a lot of it. I think that people I think that people can hold on to some sort of private, supplemental plan if they want. There's no reason we shouldn't allow them to do that. Julian, thanks very much. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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