Thomas Perez Could Become Only Latino in Obama Cabinet

Jordan Fabian, ABC News, March 11, 2013

President Barack Obama is expected to tap Thomas Perez, the head of the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, to serve as his next labor secretary. The appointment would make Perez the only Latino in the president’s second-term cabinet.


If selected and confirmed by the Senate, Perez would replace former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who resigned from the administration in January. Another Latino cabinet official, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is expected to leave his position by the end of this month. Ernest Moniz, Obama’s nominee for energy secretary, is the grandson of Portugese immigrants from the Azores islands.

The news of Perez’s impending appointment comes after Latino groups pressured the administration to appoint Latinos to fill vacant cabinet roles.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 30 large advocacy groups, sent a letter to Obama in January recommending that he select three Latinos to serve in cabinet-level positions. The letter provided a list of 18 potential nominees, including Perez.

“With the Latino community heading into the epicenter of an historic policy debate around immigration reform, and related policies, your Cabinet can ill-afford to not have the unique perspective and voice of high-level Latino members,” wrote NHLA Chair Hector E. Sanchez. “At this critical time our voices need to be amplified, not diminished.”

Perez, a first-generation American and the son of Dominican parents, has a long career of government service on issues that pertain to Latinos.

He gained notoriety last year when the Justice Department filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Joe Arpaio, sheriff in Arizona’s Maricopa County, alleging that his department discriminates against Latinos. {snip}


Perez, a Harvard Law School graduate, has also played a key role in the Obama administration’s defense of the Voting Rights Act, which is being challenged in a case before the Supreme Court. The suit focuses on a key section of the 1965 law that requires jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination to seek permission from the federal government before changing voting rules.

And while serving in the Clinton Justice Department during the 1990s, Perez headed the Worker Exploitation Task Force, “which oversaw a variety of initiatives designed to protect vulnerable workers,” according to his official biography. {snip}

If he is selected as labor secretary, Perez would have many issues on his plate. Congress is considering a sweeping immigration overhaul and one of the key sticking points has been how to bring in more high-skilled and low-skilled immigrant workers into the United States. Perez has the support of organized labor groups, who have balked at a traditional guest-worker program for lower-skilled immigrants.


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  • I have yet to hear a republican refer to either Clinton or Obama’s cabinets as quota postitions.
    Nope, they just sat back and did nothing because they weRe afRaid of that woRd.

  • bigone4u

    Black, white, or Hispanic I would not expect Obongo to appoint anyone friendly to rebuidling middle-class America (i.e., white middle-class America). As far as Hispanics are concerned, Henry Cisneros had a cabinet post back in Clinton’s day. His affair with a white woman turned the Mexicano supremecist’s world inside out after he got caught in some illegalities trying to cover up the affair. Today, he’s an executive for KB Homes, pulling in big bucks. Once you get a cabinet post, even if you’re proven a crook, so long as you’re a minority, corporate America will embrace your diversity. Perez will ultimately cash in big time.

    • Johnwharl

      A lot of white former cabinet office holders with shady pasts don’t seem to be doing
      badly out of office.

  • The__Bobster

    The news of Perez’s impending appointment comes after Latino groups pressured the administration to appoint Latinos to fill vacant cabinet roles.

    We never had this problem when we weren’t up to our necks in ugly stubbies.

  • The__Bobster

    Perez, a first-generation American and the son of Dominican parents, has a long career of government service on issues that pertain to Latinos.

    He gained notoriety last year when the Justice Department filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Joe Arpaio, sheriff in Arizona’s Maricopa County, alleging that his department discriminates against Latinos.

    Do we really need any more like this one?

  • He just doesn’t look right …. Not hispanic, not white.

    I am guessing Perez, a Harvard Law School graduate, has also played a key role with the contents of Obama’s trousers.

  • mobilebay

    What about the head of La Raza? Isn’t that anti-American, entitlement-seeking, Celia Munoz considered part of the “club?”

  • IKantunderstand

    Blah, blah, blah. I DON”T CARE! The importance of the so called Hispanic vote, means nothing to me. I want them gone. They had absolutely nothing to do with the establishment of the U.S. and everything to do with getting in our way. We paid the Mexican government for the land. We also paid France for land. I don’t see the French sneaking across the border and reclaiming the land. A deal is a deal. Screw the Mexicans. Don’t let anymore of them in our country. Are we seriously going to allow our country be overrun by these ignorant hordes? Do we not care about the lives of our children and grandchildren? People, a country always, always, reflects the culture of the people who live there. Do you really see Mexicans adopting our culture? Muslims?Chinese?Indians?Anybody who moves here? Do you actually see the United States of America existing at all in its present form? If you love your children, if you love your grandchildren, now is the time to fight. We have no other choice.

    • Johnwharl

      A deal is a deal ? The native Americans would have loved that whites were
      consistent about that and not only when it suits them.

  • joesolargenius

    The fact that Hilda Solis has resigned is good news ,for this means she didn’t want to be associated with the Department of Labor anymore. This points to a strong possibility that all this amnesty push is for the media and the 2014 elections. Hilda Solis was a leader in the La Raza organization and would have wanted to be known as having used her position as head of the DOL to bring Amnesty about for the fifty or sixty million socialist waiting in the wings . Yet instead she just walks away right before she succeeds .No I don’t think the Dems want the illegals to be citizens because they will lose two voters for everyone they gain . The Black tax payers are rejoining the republican party by the hundreds daily .

  • StillModerated

    He had to hire a Dominican because no blacks were qualified to fill out the job application.