Regarding Ritchie Torres’s July 21 Tuesday Opinion essay, “I can’t join both the black and Hispanic caucuses in Congress. That must change.”:

This situation is just the latest in issues with the Congressional Black Caucus’s membership policies.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) considers himself Afro-Latino. He is whip of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He wanted to join the Congressional Black Caucus. The Congressional Black Caucus seemed to think Mr. Espaillat might not qualify. Former Congressional Black Caucus chair Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) said, “It may be problematic if someone wants to belong to two ethnic caucuses.” Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) said, “Now [in Congress], we’ve been different in that you were either in the Black Caucus or you were in the Hispanic Caucus.” Mr. Espaillat never joined the Congressional Black Caucus.  

There is precedent for someone to be a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and another race-ethnic-based caucus. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Reps. Al Green (D-Tex.) and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) are Congressional Black Caucus members and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Executive Board members. Hence, Mr. Espaillat and Mr. Torres, if he wins the general election as expected, should be allowed to be Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus members.  

Miriam Edelman, Washington