Democrats who run the Congressional Hispanic Caucusm (CHC) have blocked a freshman Latina Republican lawmaker from joining the group.
Mayra Flores, who flipped a long-held Democratic House seat along the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year, said she was refused admission by the CHC because of her party affiliation.
“As the first Mexican-born American Congresswoman, I thought the Hispanic Caucus would be open to working together,” said Flores. “This denial once again proves a bias towards conservative Latinas that don’t fit their narrative or ideology.”
The CHC is the largest group working group within Congress for lawmakers of Hispanic and Latino descent. Its membership is made up of roughly 40 lawmakers from both the House and Senate.
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The CHC has defended its decision by saying the organization is for Democrats only and that Flores holds “extreme” views at odds with its mission.
“Per our bylaws, the CHC is now for Democratic Members,” said a spokesman for the caucus. “Rep. Flores’ extreme MAGA values and their attacks on Latinos and our nation’s democracy on January 6 do not align with CHC values.”
“The party of ‘inclusion’ does it again,” Flores said in reaction.
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The CHC was a bipartisan working group until 2003, when it splintered over U.S. policy toward Cuba. At the time, the caucuses’ five GOP members opted to create the Congressional Hispanic Conference.
Since then, the two groups shave been divided by party, but the CHC has been more vocal because of its larger membership. The GOP-run Congressional Hispanic Conference only has nine members.
Given the CHC’s larger voice, Republicans in recent years have tried to break its strict Democratic-only rule. In 2017, GOP Rep. Carlos Curbello of Florida was denied admission on the grounds of his partisanship.
House Republicans have been quick to criticize the CHC in the wake of such decisions, and did so again when Flores was rejected.
“Last time I checked, I’m Black, and Mayra is Latina. These Democrats care more about the ‘R’ than our race,” said Rep. Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican who was denied entry into the Congressional Black Caucus last year over party affiliation.