The Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday rejected Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s request to join the group.
Curbelo had requested membership, saying he had hoped to work with the caucus on a legislative replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, but his refusal to endorse the version of the so-called DREAM Act supported by the caucus frustrated members.
The CHC’s decision is not surprising given public and private feuding between caucus members and Curbelo and his aides.
“The CHC isn’t just an organization for Hispanics; it is a Caucus that represents certain values,” the caucus said in a statement about its decision. “This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values.”
Curbelo called the decision “shameful,” saying in a statement that the CHC was building a wall around its organization to exclude Hispanic members who are not registered Democrats.
“This sends a powerful and harmful message of discrimination, bigotry, and division,” he said. “Unbelievably, petty partisan interests have led the CHC to formally endorse the segregation of American Hispanics. It is a dark day on Capitol Hill.”
Curbelo added that the decision strengthens his resolve to work on a bipartisan DACA fix.
Founded in 1976, the CHC began as a bipartisan caucus but its membership has been exclusively Democratic since the 1990s.