February 08, 2023

Congressman Castro Named Ranking Member of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) was selected by his Democratic colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to serve as the highest-ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. Castro was additionally appointed to serve on the Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific. He previously served in Committee leadership as Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact during the 117th Congress and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations during the 116th Congress. He also served as Vice Chair of the full Committee during the 116th Congress.

“I’m honored to earn the trust of my colleagues to lead Democratic efforts on the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere for the 118th Congress,” said Congressman Castro. “More than with any other region of the world, the future of the United States is intimately linked with that of our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. As we grapple with transnational challenges – from managing migration to climate resilience – the time has come for a reimagined regional approach that prioritizes multilateralism, effective engagement, and mutual respect.

“For much of the last seven decades, the United States has approached the Western Hemisphere with a Cold War mentality that prioritizes ideological alignment over shared commitments to democracy and freedom. This counterproductive approach has hampered our diplomacy, left many of our neighbors wary of U.S. engagement, and undermined potential progress on development, good governance, human rights, and more. At the same time, our reputation has been damaged by cruel migration policies that hurt vulnerable people and contradict our foundational values. As we move deeper into the 21st century and confront unprecedented challenges, I hope the members of this Subcommittee will work with our colleagues in neighboring countries and make policy that is informed by the diverse experiences of our own diaspora communities.

“My family’s American story began when my grandmother, Victoria Castro, came to Texas as a young orphan in the wake of the Mexican Revolution. Her San Antonio relatives raised her in a city defined by Mexican culture, where recent migrants and long-established Hispanic families could chase their American dreams despite the prejudices of the time. Today, the vast and diverse Latino diaspora forms the backbone of communities from San Antonio to Springfield, Massachusetts, and newly arrived immigrants are breathing new life into cities across the industrial Midwest. Congress must learn how to harness America’s immigrant communities as a source of strength, and on this Subcommittee, I hope we will do so.

“As the 118th Congress begins, my priorities for the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will be advancing inclusive and sustainable development, expanding regional economic cooperation to create good-paying jobs at home and abroad, promoting a more humane approach to migration, strengthening our bilateral and multilateral relationships, and curbing firearms trafficking from the United States into Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. These goals will build on the progress I accomplished as chairman of the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact, and I’m pleased to be able to continue many of the important conversations that began last Congress.

“As the founding member and co-chair of both the US-Japan Caucus and the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN, I’ve long recognized the importance of meaningful Congressional engagement with Indo-Pacific nations. As a member of the Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, I’m glad to continue working closely with Chairwoman Kim, who worked with me to introduce several bills with regional importance last term.

“The House Foreign Affairs Committee has a long tradition of bipartisan accomplishment that I was proud to continue during my Subcommittee leadership over the past three years. I look forward to working with Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member Meeks, Subcommittee Chairwoman Salazar, and all members of the Committee to advance effective American leadership on the global stage.”