Dem quits Hispanic caucus over immigration reform

Rep. Filemon Vela objected to the Senate bill's provisions tying a pathway to citizenship to border security

By Jillian Rayfield
Published July 3, 2013 1:22PM (EDT)
Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas (Facebook/UsCongressmanFilemonVela)
Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas (Facebook/UsCongressmanFilemonVela)

A Texas Democrat has quit the Congressional Hispanic Caucus over his objections to provisions in the Senate's immigration reform bill, which could be included in the House version, that tie a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to a broad increase in border security.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Rep. Filemon Vela announced his resignation from the caucus in an email to supporters:

The first-term Brownville Democrat announced his decision to resign in a short email over the weekend following overwhelming Senate approval of the enforcement-heavy legislation.

Vela said he was concerned that the bill conditions a pathway to citizenship for people living in the country illegally on militarization of the border, including additional hundreds of miles of border fence.

Politico reports that the caucus - which includes one of the authors of the Senate immigration bill, Sen. Bob Menendez - has not taken an official position on the legislation, but Chairman Ruben Hinojosa last week said that the bill “is in line with the CHC’s Principles on Immigration Reform.”

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Border Security Democrats Filemon Vela Hispanics Immigration Reform U.s. Senate