Congressional Hispanic Caucus Frozen Out Of Meeting They Requested With ICE (TWEETS)

Republicans Help ICE Bully Hispanic Democrats In Congress

In an unprecedented display of partisan strong-arming, Republican leaders blocked Democrats in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus from attending a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was a meeting that the Hispanic Caucus had requested, in an effort to represent their immigrant constituents who are being harassed and terrorized by Trump’s new immigration enforcement regime.

Related: This Industry That Donated To Trump Sees Stocks Soar As ICE Raids Rip Apart Families

ICE agreed to the meeting, but it issued a guest list. This was an unusual move, as a federal agency usually can’t, and wouldn’t, tell members of Congress who can and can’t attend a meeting that representatives requested. Nonetheless, Republican House leaders agreed to enforce ICE’s list. ICE’s list initially included no members of the Hispanic Caucus, but they were convinced to include four members of the Caucus. No members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus were invited, Huffington Post reported.

The Department of Homeland Security apparently convinced Republican leaders to enforce ICE’s list. Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) enforced it, and acted as a bouncer blocking Hispanic Representatives from entering the meeting, saying that only “members with jurisdictional interests” should attend. But members representing border districts with large immigrant communities were barred.

Goodlatte blocked Hispanic Democrats from entering the meeting and told them they would be briefed later by their Caucus leaders, or by Republican leadership. Goodlatte told Democrats who protested being barred from the meeting to contact House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office. California Democrat Norma Torres said,

“I speak English ― I don’t need a translator,” Torres told reporters afterward. “My constituents elected me to represent them here. I should be able to participate and hear firsthand what ICE is saying and what ICE is doing in my communities.”

Democrats who attended the meeting said that ICE is ramping up deportations, and looking for more resources to conduct more raids. Unlike in previous administrations, which differentiated between law-abiding immigrants who came to the US as children and knew no other country and criminals, the Trump administration is not planning to make distinctions.

Related: Deporting And Terrorizing Undocumented Immigrants Will Cause Economic Collapse—Just Ask Alabama

But it seems that failing to make humane distinctions is not just for residents of America under Trump’s regime. Trump’s ICE is planning to deport en masse, and virtually criminalize Hispanic families generally. And that is also true of how the White House is approaching minority representatives in Congress. ICE freezing out the CHC sends a chilling message not only to Latinos and Hispanics across the country, but seriously undermines democracy itself. Trump’s dictatorial tactics against Hispanic people both on the streets and in the government can’t possibly end well.

On Twitter, Congressional leadership, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and reporters described the chaos and outrage of the scene.

Featured image via Hispanic Caucus/Twitter image

Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master's degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.