On Thursday, two House Democrats (Luis Gutiérrez and Norma Torres) said they were asked to leave a meeting with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s acting director, Thomas Homan. The meeting meant to explore why nearly 700 undocumented immigrants were arrested by ICE agents across the country this week.
Ten Democrats were in attendance at the meeting, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. Earlier this week, Homan cancelled a meeting with the entire House in favor of a smaller group, much to the concern of Democrats who worry that these raids are part of a mass deportation plan concocted by the Donald Trump administration.
The Democrats who were pushed out may not have been on the list for the meeting — that detail is up for debate — but Gutiérrez was shaken by his removal and Tweeted some photos.
Politico reports that House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said that those involved had agreed that if Democrats were not on the meeting list, they would be asked to leave. Gutiérrez said it’s the first time in 20 years he had asked to leave a meeting and seemed to blame House Speaker Paul Ryan for strong-arming him out of the discussion. However, Ryan spokesperson AshLee Strong said this was intended to be a smaller meeting:
“The speaker’s office organized a small bipartisan briefing that was, at the request of [Department of Homeland Security], limited to members with jurisdictional interests in immigration enforcement. Members of the CHC expressed interest in attending, and to accommodate the request, we welcomed the chair of the CHC to join on behalf of the other members. We are confident that the CHC chair is capable of representing the views of her caucus, and this arrangement was made very clear to the CHC ahead of time.”