New Congress sees largest Hispanic Caucus membership since group's founding
At 39 members, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is seeing its largest numbers yet in the new Congress, The Hill reports. “This 116th Congress welcomes the largest Hispanic Caucus since our founding,” chairman Joaquin Castro of Texas said, “near doubling the size of women in our ranks and picking up some of the youngest members of the freshman class.”
It’s been CHC members who have been among the first to lead in calls to investigate some of the Trump administration’s most destructive actions, including family separation at the border. Led by now-incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, more than a dozen CHC members went to the U.S./Mexico border last June to meet with children, some as young as six, torn from their parents.
The delegation also visited a second detention facility holding detained adults, some of whom “didn’t get a chance to say goodbye” to their kids, according to attorney and California Congresswoman Nanette Barragán. “That’s injustice,” she blasted at the time, “and others not knowing where their kids are, and what’s happening, and ‘how can you help connect me, or tell me what is going on?’”
CHC members have also led in calls to investigate the horrific deaths of two children while in immigration custody (though this is something that should concern all members of Congress), last month touring the border facility where seven-year-old Jakelin Ameí Rosmery Caal Maquin was held before she died under Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.
While there is still much more work to be done to ensure better representation for Latinx communities in Congress—“the CHC represents 7.5 percent of House lawmakers, while Hispanics represent 18.1 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Census Bureau,”—the historic 2018 midterms proved to be a blueprints for moving forward.
But in the meantime, and with House Democrats taking power today, the CHC is in a place to exert great power when it comes to governmental accountability and the greater good of families everywhere. “It’s clear the Democratic Congress is becoming more and more representative of our nation,” Castro continued, “and the growing Latino American community.”