WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate returned to Capitol Hill on Monday following a bombshell report in the New Yorker that identified three top Biden White House officials as bulwarks of former President Donald Trump’s harsh enforcement policies against immigrants.
The officials named by Jonathan Blitzer were Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Domestic Policy Council Chief Susan Rice, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Latino Rebels asked 10 Democratic Senators, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), if they have had any conversations about immigration with Klain, the highest-ranking official named in Blitzer’s report.
Only Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) told Latino Rebels that he had had conversations with Klain about immigration, but declined to offer specifics about those conversations.
Leader Schumer, along with Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez (NJ), Joe Manchin (WV), Diane Feinstein (CA), Ben Cardin (MD), Tim Kaine (VA), Michael Bennett (CO), and Mazie Hirono (HI), said that they had not spoken with Klain about immigration. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) declined to comment when asked about his discussions with Klain.
The subject of Blitzer’s report, Andrea Flores*, a former White House official assigned to the immigration portfolio who now works as a chief counsel for Sen. Menendez, has become something of a folk hero among progressive Capitol Hill staffers since the story broke—especially among Latinx staffers.
“She’s such a badass,” said a Latina member of the Congressional Progressive Staff Association who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We all admire her so much. It’s not every day in Washington that you see a Latina given a platform for taking a stand on principle, especially at the level of a profile in the New Yorker.”
Three other Latinx staffers who work or have worked with Flores —two in the Senate and one in the Biden administration— expressed similar admiration.
“A lot of people have worked on immigration at the White House, grown disillusioned, and left,” said a Senate colleague. “Where are they? Where are their voices? What Andrea did is remarkable. It’s a shame there aren’t more people like her taking a stand on principle.”
* Editor’s Note: Pablo Manríquez was a tracker for the Democratic Party of New Mexico during 2010 midterm elections, during which he stayed with the Flores family in Las Cruces.
Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports