Obama Picks Immigration Reform Advocate to Lead Domestic Policy

Amie Parnes and Erik Wasson, The Hill, January 10, 2012

President Obama has picked a strong advocate of immigration reform to head his Domestic Policy Council.

The White House announced Tuesday that Cecilia Muñoz, a former senior vice president of the National Council of La Raza, would replace Melody Barnes at the top of the council. White House press secretary Jay Carney announced the appointment during his press briefing.

Muñoz is now serving as the White House’s director of intergovernmental affairs and is in charge of outreach to state and local governments. “The president has asked, she has accepted,” Carney said.

Muñoz is an immigration expert who worked for the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, until she joined the administration in 2009. The group works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans and advocates legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

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In her new role, Muñoz will become the president’s senior adviser on domestic affairs that fall outside the strict purview of the National Economic Council, which is headed by Gene Sperling.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the appointment, saying Muñoz “has developed strong relationships with members of Congress in Washington and activists nationwide, and a sterling reputation as a powerful voice on behalf of comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform.”

She said the appointment reflected Obama’s “strong and ongoing commitment to diversity across his administration.”

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