Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

© Image Copyright : Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: United States Congress

Overview

  • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019
  • Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus & Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • Supporter of sanctuary cities and enhanced rights for illegal aliens
  • Supporter of amnesty and path-to-citizenship
  • Views America as a nation infested with “systemic racism”

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia was born on April 12, 1956 in Durango, Mexico. For most of his childhood, he was raised in Mexico by his mother. His father, meanwhile, was an illegal alien who worked in the U.S. unlawfully until the early 1960s, at which time he was admitted into the Bracero Program, a series of statutes and diplomatic agreements that offered various legal protections allowing Mexican farm laborers to work lawfully in America between 1942 and 1964. In 1965, after Garcia’s father had obtained permanent resident status in the United States, the family immigrated to a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago.

Upon being introduced to activism by the Saul Alinsky-inspired activist Lola Navarro in the 1970s, Garcia participated in protests on behalf of various labor and Latino causes in the Chicago area.

Garcia became a U.S. citizen in 1977 and later earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois Chicago in 1999, followed by a master’s degree in Urban Planning in 2002.

In 1983, Garcia served as manager of an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to elect a community organizer and activist named Rudy Lozano as the first Mexican-American member of Chicago’s City Council. Known for his success in building united Hispanic and African American coalitions that had helped elect Harold Washington as Chicago’s first black mayor earlier in 1983, Lozano was later praised in a three-part series by the Soviet newspaper Pravda for his work as a community organizer. Multiple members of Lozano’s family have had involvement with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and far-left causes.

A lifelong Democrat, Garcia was a member of the Chicago City Council from 1986-1993, an Illinois State Senator from 1993-1999, and a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners from 2011-2018.

In 2015 Garcia ran for mayor of Chicago but was defeated by Rahm Emanuel. In 2016 he helped lead the “People for Bernie” presidential campaign of Senator Bernie” Sanders.

In 2018 Garcia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by voters in the 4th District of Illinois. He easily won that House seat with nearly 87% of the vote in a heavily Democratic and Hispanic district. Prior to his victory, Garcia declared that his priorities in office would include fixing the “broken immigration system” in a manner that would support hundreds of thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients; “addressing the plight” of thousands of El Salvadoran refugees in America; promoting “comprehensive immigration reform”; ensuring that nonwhite minority students “do not suffer from discrimination in either elementary or high school”; and making college “affordable and making it free.”

Upon joining the U.S. House in January 2019, Garcia became a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He aligned himself politically with members of “The Squad” – a small coalition of far-left Democrats including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar — on a wide range of issues such as radical immigration measures and support for the Green New Deal.

One of Garcia’s earliest votes in Congress was in favor of a joint resolution to overturn President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, and to thwart Trump’s call for Congress to use emergency funds to finance the construction of a border wall. Garcia referred to the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border in February of 2019 as “a crisis that does not exist,” and he condemned Trump’s effort to allocate emergency funds for the border wall project “as a lawless act that does great violence to our Constitution and our democracy.”

In February 2019 as well, Garcia was a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution that called for the federal government to aggressively combat “climate change,” which the congressman described as “one of the most consequential challenges we face as a country.” Advocating for Congress to take “bold actions to begin addressing this matter,” Garcia expressed his hope that Americans could “reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, shift our energy consumption to green and sustainable sources, and support infrastructure and urban planning reforms that are in line with the highest conservation and sustainability standards.”

A month later in March of 2019, Garcia joined other Congressional Hispanic Caucus members in demanding the establishment of a pathway-to-citizenship and permanent legal protections for beneficiaries of DACA, Temporary Protected Status designation, and the Deferred Enforced Departure program. Invoking members of his district’s illegal migrant population who “live in fear,” Garcia argued that such people deserve American citizenship because “they work hard, play by the rules and make our country great.”

Articulating his “proud” support for The Dream and Promise Act in June 2019, Garcia described that bill as a “significant precedent by the House of Representatives to create a pathway to citizenship for millions.” In spite of his expressed reservations over parts of the bill that might potentially “reinforce racial profiling,” Garcia argued that ultimately the Senate, under the leadership of Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, should “do the right thing” and pass the legislation.

In July 2019, Garcia was one of only 16 Democrats to vote against a House Resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative designed to crush the state of Israel economically and politically.

In November 2019, Garcia issued a press release in which he declared that “we must keep our promise to Dreamers — a reference to illegal migrants who had first come to the U.S. as minors and therefore could qualify for DREAM Act protections — and “must continue working until we provide [them with] a path to citizenship.” Noting that the Supreme Court at that time was in the process of hearing arguments regarding the Trump Administration’s attempt to terminate DACA, Garcia exhorted the Justices to “protect DACA recipients” against the administration’s “cruel immigration policies.” He went so far as to call upon the Justices to consider how they themselves “would feel if they could not stay in the only country they call home.”

Following President Trump’s ordered U.S. airstrike that killed leading Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani in January 2020, Garcia condemned the president’s action for “provoking an international crisis” and placing America “on the brink of war.” Accusing Trump of having used the targeted assassination as a ploy to divert the U.S. public’s attention away from the ongoing impeachment hearings that congressional Democrats were holding at that time, Garcia stated that “we cannot put the lives of American servicemembers, diplomats, and others further at risk by engaging in provocative actions.”

In February 2020, Garcia opposed the Trump Administration’s deployment of 100 Border Patrol Tactical Unit agents to ten sanctuary cities across the U.S.  The congressman portrayed the move as an attempt to “wage war on non-white immigrants,” and as a “campaign of fear to keep communities marginalized.” Voicing his support for such cities and their routine violations of federal immigration laws, Garcia declared his intent to “keep Chicago a city that stands in solidarity with all its people,” including illegals. “Our strength is in standing together for our immigrant communities making sure they know their rights, they are counted and they participate fully in the democratic process by using the power of their vote,” the congressman added.

In response to the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man whose death following a physical altercation with a white police officer infamously set off a massive wave of violent riots across the United States, Garcia joined 45 fellow House Democrats – including such notables as Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Ohmar, Karen Bass, and Barbara Lee — in calling upon Congress to denounce the officer’s actions as emblematic of the “systemic racism that has plagued law enforcement agencies throughout our history.” Characterizing the riots as “the culmination of outrage at 400 years of institutionalized racism in America,” Garcia called for sweeping legislation to “end the militarization of law enforcement.”

Garcia was reelected to a second House term in November 2020, when he won 84% of his district’s vote.

Upon voting in favor of the Equality Act – a radical piece of legislation aiming to codify sexual orientation and “gender identity” as protected characteristics akin to religion, race, and sex — Garcia in February 2021 declared that the passage of the bill would help guarantee that “we live up to our values and ensure [that] all people have equal rights under the law.” Referencing the momentum that the LGBT movement had gained since the landmark 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case which made same-sex marriage rights the law of the land, Garcia called on Congress to now guarantee job protection for those who “can still be fired for being LGBT in at least 17 states.”

Following the confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in February 2021, Garcia stated that “it’s time to reimagine an immigration system guided by justice and respect.” Citing three major pieces of immigration-reform legislation that he had recently introduced, the congressman indicated that such bills were intended “to protect immigrants, rewrite our immigration laws and ensure all people have access to due process and fair consideration.” Further, Garcia conveyed his eagerness for “working with the Biden administration and Secretary Mayorkas to return compassion to our immigration system and ensure that those who seek the American Dream have a chance to reach it.”

In February 2021 as well, Garcia joined fellow Democratic Representatives Grace Meng and Pramila Jayapal, along with Senators Edward Markey and Mazie Hirono, in introducing the New Deal For New Americans Act, legislation that called for: (a) increasing refugee admissions to the U.S. to at least 125,000 per fiscal year; (b) supporting organizations that help immigrants obtain know-your-rights education, relief from deportation orders, and assistance in applying for citizenship or legal status; (c) promoting automatic voter registration for newly naturalized individuals; (d) bolstering family reunification policies by reducing (from 21 to 18) the age at which citizens could petition for eligible family members to receive immigrant visas; and (e) prohibiting the deportation of anyone on grounds that they are deemed a public charge.

In April 2021, Garcia voted in favor of the NO BAN Act, which, by the congressman’s telling, “would prevent future presidents from issuing discriminatory travel bans.” This was a reference to a 2017 executive order by which former President Donald Trump, professing a desire “to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” had temporarily suspended most travel and refugee admissions to the U.S. from seven mostly-Muslim nations that were hotbeds of terrorism and/or civil war. “Diversity is America’s greatest strength and our laws should reflect that,” said García. “Instead, Trump’s presidency was marked by blatantly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies designed to strip away the civil rights of those seeking entry into the United States.”

On April 15, 2021, García voted in support of H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation seeking to address the alleged problem of gender-based wage discrimination. “Equal pay for equal work is a basic principle for any fair society,” Garcia said in a statement, “but our country has never lived up to it. […] It’s inexcusable that in 2021 a woman still makes, on average, 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. But racial discrimination makes the wage gap for women of color even wider: Latinas make only 55 cents, while Black women make 61 cents for every dollar earned by a man.” Garcia’s assertions about the existence of a gender wage gap, however, were demonstrably false.

After Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April 2021 of George Floyd’s May 2020 murder, Garcia lamented the “countless others” who, in addition to Floyd, had been “killed by racist, violent policing … in Black and Latino communities” where “we know the police play by a different set of rules.”

In May 2021, Garcia issued a statement calling on “the City of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Justice” to take steps to “help prevent police violence” in “Latino and Black communities” whose members too often “fear the very police who are pledged to protect us.”

On September 11, 2021 — the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks — Garcia issued a statement claiming that those attacks had turned America into a nation that was much less welcoming, and far more hostile, to immigrants than it previously had been: “The terrorist attacks of September 11th changed our country and how we perceive the security of our nation, with a profound impact on our immigration policies. Most of the institutional changes caused by the ‘War on Terror’ were fueled by fear and anger […] These changes resulted in increased surveillance, heightened spending on border security and immigration enforcement, while failing to prevent domestic terrorist attacks. […] It’s time to stop the militarization of our foreign policy and the scapegoating of immigrants. It’s time to stop the limitless funding of the intelligence and military budgets and instead invest in working families.”

Over the course of his political career, Garcia has been endorsed by an extensive list of far-left and Communist Party USA figures. Among his more prominent backers have been such notables as Senator Bernie Sanders, former Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Illinois socialist David Orr, CPUSA vice chair Scott Marshall, CPUSA activists like Pepe Lozano and Abdul-Aziz Hassan, and the Progressive Democrats of America. Conversely, Garcia has supported known members of the Communist Party, the Democratic Socialists of America, and other left-wing organizations. He even campaigned with CPUSA member Rudy Lozano, Jr. in 2009, when the latter ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Further Reading: “Jesus Garcia” (Keywiki.orgBallotpedia.org, ChuyGarcia.house.gov/issues)

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