Opinion: Growing Latino Clout is Strengthening Hispanic Caucus



Luis V. Gutierrez, Chairs the CHC’s Immigration Task Force. (Photo Credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) has gained significant traction as a direct result of the efforts from its political action committee BOLD PAC. The caucus has seen a rise in members, political leverage and fundraising power thanks to both its Latino donors and voters, Roll Call reports.
BOLD PAC, which stands for Building Our Leadership Through Diversity, spent $844,000 during the 2012 election and helped elect nine more Latinos to the House, which increased the caucus membership to 27 since last November. During the 2008 cycle with a Democratic majority, the committee only spent half that amount.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., Chairman of BOLD PAC, said he anticipated Hispanics “a big part of the numbers” in order for the Democrats to take back the House.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has tapped Luján and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, to be the driving forces behind the Latino Council to foster Latino candidates as well as donors to continue their momentum.
Meanwhile, the CHC continues to focus on a deliberately nonpartisan campaign to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
An Immigration Task Force is made up of caucus members Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Chair Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., who leads six other House members in constructing the reform.
According to Clarissa Martinez, the director of civic engagement and immigration for National Council of LaRaza, the caucus is focused on solving immigration reform rather than using it as a “political weapon.”
A key element of their reform is providing a way from the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to become citizens.
“It wasn’t just about showing up on Election Day, but we are in the thick of things day in and day out,” Martinez said. “And we need to continue that pressure.”