Allies in Congressional Black Caucus Join Fight for Immigrant Relief

Oct 13, 2021
5:02 PM

Rep. Cori Bush (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) was the first to arrive at the pro-immigrant rally two weeks ago outside the Capitol Building. Her remarks drew cheers and nods of approval from rallygoers who were mostly Latino.

“I’m here to stand in solidarity with our undocumented brothers and sisters,” said Bush, one of several members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) who have taken up the immigrant rights cause during the 117th Congress, the most diverse in history. Two weeks before, it was Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) who gave the opening remarks to thousands of immigrant rights marchers in nearby Union Square.

“I was born and raised in Spanish Harlem,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) in an interview on Tuesday with Latino Rebels. “So there’s never been any disconnect between myself and my Latino brothers and sisters.”

“We have a shared experience. Whether it’s mass deportation, mass incarceration, police harassment, poverty—our experiences are shared experiences. So I’m happy to see other members of the CBC align with our immigrant brothers and sisters, particularly from Central and South America. I think that’s key. I also think more progressives like Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar, all members of the CBC are right in alignment on immigrant issues,” Bowman added.

Rep. Pressley (D-MA) was elected in 2018 on a platform to defund U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a position that she has not backed down from since, challenging the agency directly to stop the deportation of her constituents and others.

“When we talk about a pathway to citizenship,” Rep. Al Green (D-TX) told Latino Rebels in August, “we have to talk about who we’re talking about for that pathway, because there are many plans that limit the pathway to only children and there are some of us who think that parents have to be given consideration too.”

“ICE’s activities in the aftermath of the overly aggressive activities by the Trump administration need to be evaluated and perhaps constrained,” House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said in an interview with Latino Rebels in August as well.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, which has direct jurisdiction over ICE, told Latino Rebels in July that he has had the “practical experience of ICE being heavy-handed in his district, where the agency has been responsible for a series of mass deportation raids at poultry processing plants.”

Reps. Ritchie Torres and Antonio Delgado, both Democrats from New York, are members of both the Hispanic and Black Congressional caucuses, though Delgado is not listed on the Hispanic Caucus website. “The website hasn’t been updated in a long time,” said a Capitol Hill staffer with knowledge of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s operations.

CBC members, meanwhile, continue to unite around immigrant relief, especially following the recent harsh treatment of Haitian migrants by ICE and Border Patrol agents.

Last month, nine members of the CBC met with Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and other officials at the White House to discuss the influx of Haitian migrants and the underlying crisis on the island.

“I’m pissed,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), a senior member of the CBC, over the summer. “I’m unhappy, and I’m not just unhappy with the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them. I’m unhappy with this administration.”

The House of Representatives is spending the rest of the week in committee work, while the Senate returns to Capitol Hill for votes on Monday, October 18.


Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports