WASHINGTON - Hispanic Democrats in the US Congress rejected Alberto Gonzales as nominee for attorney general, breaking with major US Latino groups.
In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Gonzales had not taken the time to meet with the group to discuss "issues important to the Latino community."
The Senate Judiciary Committee (news - web sites) on Wednesday approved Gonzales' nomination after Democrats grilled him on the White House legal counsel's role in shaping US policy on interrogating terror suspects.
His confirmation must be cleared by the 100-member Senate, which has only two Hispanic senators -- one Republican and one Democrat.
Gonzales, the son of Mexican immigrants, would become the first Hispanic to hold the cabinet's law enforcement post.
The Hispanic caucus said it was told that Gonzales was too busy responding to written questions from the judiciary committee to meet with the group and that a meeting would have to wait until after his confirmation.
"The historic nature of his nomination is rendered meaningless for the Hispanic community when the nominee declines an opportunity to meet with the group of Hispanic members of Congress who have worked for so many years to open the doors of opportunity to fellow Hispanics," the caucus said in the letter sent Wednesday.
Three major Hispanic organizations have endorsed Gonzales: the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Council of La Raza and the Latino Coalition.
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