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Hispanic GOP Rep. denied membership to Congressional Hispanic Caucus

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has denied a request by a Hispanic GOP representative to join their group. (Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)

What happened?

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus officially denied membership Thursday to Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) after weeks of debate with several caucus members who objected to Curbelo joining their ranks.

Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) told Politico earlier this month that they were waiting to hear back from the House Administration Committee to instruct them on whether they were obligated to allow Curbelo to join so that caucus members could continue the debate on whether he should be granted membership. Lujan Grisham also previously said she thought ultimately the caucus would extend an invitation to Curbelo.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has not had a Republican member since 1997.

Why did they deny Curbelo's request to join?

Some members said they believed Curbelo's request was politically motivated and intended to help bolster his re-election bid. Lujan Grisham cited Curbelo's refusal to co-sponsor the Dream Act, which would have given legal residence to illegal immigrants who were minors and met certain qualifications. Curbelo said he would vote for the Dream Act if it reached the House floor. She also said his efforts to repeal Obamacare and support of the GOP tax bill weighed heavily in their decision.

"This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values,” said the group's spokesman Carlos Paz.

What was Curbelo's response?

“I think it was pre-cooked,” Curbelo said Thursday afternoon. “I will stand up to bigotry and discrimination no matter whether it comes from the right, the left, the middle.”

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