Linda Sanchez was born in Orange, California, to immigrant parents from Mexico, on January 28, 1969, and was raised in nearby Anaheim. She earned a BA degree in Spanish (with an emphasis in bilingual education) from UC-Berkeley in 1991, and a Juris Doctor from UCLA Law School in 1995. After completing her formal education, Sanchez practiced law privately before working as an attorney for two labor unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, where she is still a member, and the National Electrical Contractors Association. She also headed the Orange County (California) Central Labor Council, an AFL-CIO member union, in the early 2000s.
In 2001, Sanchez,, who has long favored the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, traveled to Cuba for unspecified purposes. The trip’s $1,214.50 price tag was covered by the leftist William C. Velasquez Institute. Sanchez returned to Cuba in April 2004, this time for the purpose of getting an “education” about what life there was like. This trip cost $7,500, and again it was paid for by the Velasquez Institute.
In 2003, Sanchez was elected to represent California’s 39th Congressional District (which was later changed to the 38th) in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she continues to serve as a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the LGBT Equality Caucus. In addition, Sanchez founded the Labor and Working Families Caucus to fight for a hike in the federal minimum wage. She has served on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and she was the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee from 2011-17.
In 2008, Sanchez served on the National Latino Advisory Council of Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign. Other noteworthy members of this Council included Xavier Becerra, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, Eliseo Medina, Hilda Solis, and Nydia Velazquez.
When the House of Representatives voted by a 345-75 margin to defund the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN in September 2009, Sanchez was one of the 75—all Democrats—who voted to continue funding the group. For a list of other legislators who voted as Sanchez did, click here.
In 2009 as well, Sanchez was under review for possible ethics violations when it was learned that in 2006, she had hired three staffers who had been temporarily laid off by her sister, then-Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), due to budget shortfalls caused by an embezzlement scandal in the sister’s office. For a few weeks in late 2006, Linda Sanchez paid the three staffers $17,000 as “part-time employees,” though House rules bar members of Congress from using their annual budgets to pay aides to work in any offices other than those in which they are officially employed. Moreover, the Sanchez sisters both made payments to a fourth individual, who served as an office manager, during that same time period. But the House Ethics Committee never opened a formal inquiry into these matters, and it took no action against Sanchez.
In 2016, Sanchez was embroiled in yet another ethics matter when she was sued by her former senior field representative, Kara Medrano. Specifically, Medrano claimed that in 2014: (a) she had seen Yvette Shahinian, Sanchez’s district director, conducting campaign work on official time, in violation of federal law; (b) she had been instructed to keep silent about this matter, and to “delete [from her computer] all emails and documents that contain anything that may be incriminating regarding [fundraising] or campaigning using Congressional resources”; (c) she had been required to drive Sanchez around for her personal errands during official government work hours; and (d) she had been fired because she filed a complaint about these improper practices by Sanchez. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed by the plaintiff, without prejudice, on February 17, 2016.
In 2010, Sanchez claimed that the authors of SB 1070, an Arizona law authorizing state police to check with federal authorities on the immigration status of criminal suspects, were under the sway of white racists. “It’s not mainstream politicians,” she said, “they’re being approached by front organizations for white supremacist hate groups that seem like they’re legitimate and actually propose the language of these bills.”
A few weeks before the 2012 presidential election, Sanchez wrote an open letter (published at the Huffington Post) reminding Latinos that they “need Barack Obama” to be re-elected because he “favors an immigration policy that … lifts the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought here [illegally] as children, through no fault of their own, and grew up as Americans.”
In the summer of 2014, when tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador were illegally flooding across the Mexican border and into Texas and other southern U.S. states, Sanchez condemned the “nativist, isolationist voices” that called for “send[ing] them all back.” By Sanchez’s telling, the youngsters coming across the southern border should “qualify to be reunited with their parents [in the U.S.], and their parents could [then] come out of the shadows and get on a pathway toward citizenship.”
In a 2015 op-ed, Sanchez lamented that Latina women “are the lowest paid workers in the country,” earning just “56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.” “With over 50 million Latinos in this country,” she emphasized, “we are poised to become a political powerhouse.”
Sanchez is a strong supporter of former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which began with a 2012 executive action protecting hundreds of thousands of young illegal aliens from deportation. In 2016, Sanchez praised the program as “a shining light of hope for millions of immigrants in the United States living in the shadows.” The following year, Sanchez and Rep. Luis Gutierrez co-sponsored The American Hope Act of 2017, to “protect [DACA] recipients from [future] deportation and create a legal path towards citizenship for undocumented youth.”
During a House session in July 2015, Sanchez stood in “staunch opposition” to H.R. 3009, which called for withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities, where illegal aliens are protected by local governments that refuse to cooperate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Characterizing the bill as “nothing more than a ploy to criminalize the immigrant community,” the congresswoman claimed that Republicans had shown “time and time again [that] the only aspect of immigration reform they are interested in is deportation.”
In November 2015, Sanchez voted against a bill that would require the FBI, the director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security to vet refugees from Syria and Iraq thoroughly enough to certify, before admitting them into the United States, that they posed no security threat. Sanchez was also among some five-dozen House Democrats who signed a letter urging President Obama to fast-track the resettlement of 20,000 Syrians whose already-approved visas were backlogged in the federal system.
In a 2016 appearance on CNN, Sanchez grossly mischaracterized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stated position regarding Mexican people. Said the congresswoman: “Let me remind you what Donald Trump has said about Mexicans: that they’re rapists, that they’re killers, that they’re drug dealers.”
When President Trump in 2017 sought to use an executive order to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities, Sanchez called Trump’s position “despicable.” “I believe that, constitutionally, local governments cannot be forced to comply, to help ICE,” she added. “… [T]hey don’t have to volunteer information.”
In 2017 as well, Sanchez characterized President Trump’s call for the construction of a border wall as nothing more than a political “stunt.” “Instead of building a medieval solution that will not work,” she said, “why don’t we use those billions of dollars for a big beautiful jobs package, or big beautiful bridges, road and infrastructure throughout this country, or to ensure that our children can access higher education and job training, health care and housing?”
Sanchez has openly praised the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In October 2016, for instance, she said: “As a Member of Congress, I sincerely appreciate CAIR’s dedication to engaging leaders at the federal, state and local level, as it allows me to better represent the interests of all constituents.” A year later, Sanchez asserted that CAIR’s work “is essential to defending the constitutional rights of American Muslims.”
For an overview of Sanchez’s voting record on a variety of key issues, click here.
For additional information on Linda Sanchez, click here.