Julián Castro attends an immigration roundtable in Iowa City

Presidential hopeful Julián Castro made a three-day swing through Iowa and stopped in Iowa City on Tuesday to attend an immigration roundtable discussion at the Catholic Worker House.


Katie Goodale

José Robinson Palacios shakes hands with Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro at a meet and greet with the Catholic Worker House in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Castro met with families of immigrants to listen to their stories and discuss ICE. Palacios is a Honduran refugee.

Julia Shanahan, Assistant Politics Editor

Presidential hopeful Julián Castro attended an immigration roundtable discussion in Iowa City on Tuesday with refugees from Honduras and El Salvador.

Castro, former secretary of housing and urban development, accompanied a refugee to his “check-in” appointment with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Cedar Rapids after the roundtable discussion. Jose Reynaldo Robinson Palacios, 33, fled Honduras when he was a teenager and was denied asylum in the U.S. and appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. A translator sat in on the roundtable discussion at the Catholic Worker House and translated the conversations between the refugees and Castro to English for other the attendees.

Castro made a three-day stop to Iowa beginning Sunday and ending Tuesday. Castro told news media on Monday that Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status is not reflective of the greater national population, because Iowa is one the nation’s whitest states with about 90 percent of the population being white, similar to New Hampshire’s 93 percent. He said a more diverse state should have the opportunity to cast the first vote.