Friday, March 15, 2019 | 2:29 p.m.
Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro returned to Las Vegas today, telling a room full of business leaders that the Latino community's bilingual, ambitious young people are one of America's best assets as it seeks to remain competitive in the world.
The former Obama administration Housing and Urban Development secretary didn't dive into his policy platform as he addressed the Latino Leader's Network luncheon. Instead, he praised Nevada leaders and the Latino community while mingling with former Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and others.
The former mayor of San Antonio is the only Latino candidate so far in a Democratic field with at least 15 contenders. He has stood out from the pack by highlighting immigration issues.
Castro has persistently hammered President Donald Trump's immigration policies and has said tackling immigration reform that provides with a path to citizenship for those living in the country illegally would be among his first priorities.
He only briefly touched on the issue Friday when he highlighted his twin brother, Democratic U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, and his sponsorship of the resolution passed by Congress on Thursday to block Trump's declaration of an emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border to pay for his border wall. Trump vetoed the resolution Friday.
Castro has made more visits than any other 2020 contender this year to Nevada, a state with a 29 percent Latino population whose early caucus next year will be the first test of a candidate's appeal to a diverse electorate.
In what have become monthly visits to Las Vegas, Castro has consistently held meetings with Latino business leaders, immigration advocates and student activists.
Following his afternoon speech, Castro was scheduled to give an evening address at a women's conference of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S.