SAN DIEGO -- He's a rising star in the Democratic Party who is going places. But to understand how Rep. Joaquin Castro approaches the immigration issue, you need to forget where he might be headed and take a good look at where he came from.
That is San Antonio, where Joaquin was born and where his twin brother, Julian, is mayor. Both are good friends of mine, and have been for a decade.
America got a close-up look at the Castros during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where Julian delivered the keynote address and where Joaquin introduced his brother.
A couple of months later, Joaquin was elected to Congress.
The 38-year-old lawyer may work in Washington. But as a place to study immigration, San Antonio is as good as it gets.
Today, the population of America's seventh largest city is 63 percent Latino. Yet as anyone familiar with San Antonio can tell you, it is not a Mexican city. It's a Mexican-American city.
Go into a local barbershop with a Mexican-American clientele on the same day that Latino protesters march through U.S. cities waving Mexican flags and ask the folks there what they think. You might be surprised.
Many Mexican-Americans appreciate the contributions of immigrants, even those who came illegally. However, as patriots, many of whom have served their country in uniform, they don't appreciate the entitlement that some -- not all, but some -- illegal immigrants exhibit when making demands. It's as if the immigrants feel that the United States owes them something when they're the ones who broke the rules to get here.
"What's the price for breaking the law?" Joaquin Castro said in a recent interview. "That's what we have to determine."
Congress might give the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States a pathway to earned citizenship. The haggling is over how long and difficult this road will be.
Copyright 2013 Washington Post Writers Group