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RAUL GRIJALVA Printer Friendly Page
The Castro Caucus
By Duncan Currie
May 12, 2005

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  • Democratic Member of Congress
  • Member the Progressive Caucus
  • Former member of MECha, which seeks to facilitate Mexico's reconquest of the Southwestern U.S.

Raul Grijalva is a Democratic congressman who represents the gerrymandered Seventh District of Arizona, which stretches from Hispanic suburbs near Phoenix, southeast to the Hispanic suburbs of Tucson, then south to the Mexican border adjacent to Nogales, and finally west 275 miles along this international frontier to the California border at Yuma. The district's population is nearly 51 percent Hispanic.

Born in Tucson in February 1948, Grijalva attended the University of Arizona, where he joined the campus chapter of the radical Chicano organization MEChA.

Grijalva served on the Tucson Unified School Board from 1974-1986. In 1987 he was Assistant Dean for Hispanic Affairs at the University of Arizona. And from 1988-2002 he was a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

In 2002 Grijalva decided to enter the Democratic primary race for Arizona's newly formed Seventh District. Bolstered by strong support from organized labor and the Sierra Club, he won the primary and went on to take the general election in November, campaigning on a pledge to support an amnesty program for illegal aliens. He has been re-elected every two years since then.

Congressman Grijalva belongs to the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives. In 2006 the National Journal ranked him as the "21st most liberal member" of the House.

During his legislative career, Grijalva has voted:

  • against allowing the U.S. government to use electronic surveillance to investigate suspected terrorist operatives;
  • against a bill permitting the government to combat potential terrorist threats by monitoring foreign electronic communications which are routed through the United States;
  • against the establishment of military commissions to try enemy combatants captured in the war on terror;
  • in favor of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq immediately and by a preordained date;
  • against President Bush’s 2007 decision to deploy some 21,500 additional U.S. soldiers in an effort to quell the violent insurgents in Iraq;
  • in favor of a proposal to expedite the transfer of all prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay detention center;
  • against requiring hospitals to report (to the federal government) illegal aliens who receive emergency medical treatment;
  • against the Real ID Act, which proposed to set minimal security requirements for state driver licenses and identification cards;
  • against separate proposals calling for the construction of some 700 miles of fencing to prevent illegal immigration along America's southern border;
  • against a proposal to grant state and local officials the authority to investigate, identify, and arrest illegal immigrants;
  • against major tax cut proposals in May 2003, October 2004, and May 2006;
  • against a welfare reform bill designed to move people off the welfare rolls and into paying jobs;
  • in favor of prohibiting oil and gas exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); and
  • against a proposal to fund offshore oil exploration along the Outer Continental Shelf.

Describing America's current immigration laws as "cruel" and "unjust," Grijalva supports a program not only to increase future legal immigration into the United States, but also to legalize the status of those already residing in the country unlawfully. He is opposed to the U.S. maintaining a National Guard presence along the Mexican border, and in 2005 he voted against H.R. 4437, a bill designed to strengthen America's defense against illegal immigration.

In May 2010, a CNSNews.com reporter asked Grijalva if he was committed to sealing the U.S.-Mexican border against the inflow of illegal drugs. Rather than answer the question, Grijalva turned and walked away. As he left, he shouted back at the reporter that it was “punkish” for the latter to have asked the question.

On October 8, 2013, Grijalva was one of eight members of Congress (all Democrats) who were arrested when they sat in the middle of Independence Avenue and blocked rush-hour traffic during an immigration rally on Washington’s National Mall. Though the Mall was, at that time, legally closed due to a so-called “government shutdown” that had gone into effect a week earlier, the National Parks Service allowed the demonstration to take place because of First Amendment protections. Consisting of more than 15,000 participants, the rally was intended to persuade Congress to pass legislation allowing illegal immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship. Also arrested were U.S. Representatives Joseph Crowley, Keith Ellison, Al Green, Luis Gutierrez, John Lewis, Charles Rangel, and Jan Schakowsky.

A noteworthy contributor to Grijalva's political campaigns over the years has been the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America).


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