WASHINGTON — The Congressional Hispanic Caucus — co-chaired by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M. — voted Thursday to reject the application of a Florida Republican, saying the group is at odds with his values.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., complained that the group was excluding him from joining despite his ethnicity. The conflict stemmed primarily from disputes over immigration policy.
The decision by the caucus resulted at least partly from a “private argument” between Curbelo and Lujan Grisham in which he accused her and the caucus of discrimination, according to a Politico report Thursday.
“After due consideration, the CHC determined not to accept Rep. Curbelo’s request to join the Caucus,” caucus spokesman Carlos Paz Jr. said in an email to the Journal. “The CHC isn’t just an organization for Hispanics; it is a caucus that represents certain values. This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values.”
Paz told the Journal the balloting on Curbelo was done in private. He also said he had no comment on the reported spat between Curbelo and Lujan Grisham.
“We will not be releasing the vote count or how individual members voted,” he said.
Curbelo called the decision “shameful.” “It is truly shameful the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has decided to build a wall around the organization to exclude Hispanic-Americans who aren’t registered in the Democratic Party,” he said. “This sends a powerful and harmful message of discrimination, bigotry and division. Unbelievably, petty partisan interests have led the CHC to formally endorse the segregation of American Hispanics.”
Lujan Grisham said earlier this month that she was open to accepting Curbelo but that the matter needed to be put to a vote of the members. The caucus has no Republican members.
Lujan Grisham and other members of the caucus have said Curbelo’s exclusion wasn’t due to his being a Republican, but his opposition to some of the priorities of the caucus, such as comprehensive immigration reform or the Democratic version of the Dream Act for young people who were brought to the country illegally by their parents.
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