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Congressional Hispanic Caucus Loses Three Members (At Least)

Three House members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — Reps. John Salazar (D-Colo.), Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas) and Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) — lost their bids for re-election yesterday, meaning the pro-immigration reform wing of Congress will shrink next session. Arizona Democratic Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva could still lose their seats as final votes are counted.

Salazar lost to Republican Scott Tipton, a Tea Party-backed candidate who will likely support heavier immigration enforcement without paths to legal status for the illegal immigrants already in the country. In Texas, Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco defeated Rodriguez, a six-term congressman, and Republican Blake Farenthold took out 14-term congressman Ortiz.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is made up of Democrats and supports immigration reform that would allow some of the illegal immigrants in the United States to remain if they paid fines and taxes, learned English, passed background and civics tests and registered with the government. Losing three members from the caucus may seem minor given the size of Congress, but it means at least three pro-immigration reform members will be replaced in the House with members who support restricting immigration and tightly enforcing immigration laws to drive out current undocumented immigrants.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who chairs the immigration task force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, easily won re-election yesterday. But he acknowledged that enacting immigration reform will be more difficult with a GOP-led House. “If Republican opposition prevents us from seriously addressing immigration legislatively, then the President must address the toll deportations are taking on American families and neighborhoods through administrative action,” he said in a press release.

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