President Obama announced Tuesday that Cecilia Munoz, current White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, will be the new White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Munoz replaces Melody Barnes, who stepped down last month.
“Over the past three years, Cecilia has been a trusted advisor who has demonstrated sound judgment day in and day out,” President Obama said in a statement. “Cecilia has done an extraordinary job working on behalf of middle class families, and I’m confident she’ll bring the same unwavering dedication to her new position.”
At the new position Munoz will coordinate the policy-making process and supervise the execution of domestic policy in the White House.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the selection elevates a high-profile and well-respected advocate for the Hispanic community at the start of an election year where President Obama is counting on strong support from Hispanic voters. Munoz has been a strong and outspoken advocate for immigration reform.
"Ms. Muñoz also leads the Administration’s efforts to fix the broken immigration system so that it meets America’s 21st century economic and security needs," reads a statement from the Office of the White House Press Secretary.
That said, her support of the administration's deportation policies have drawn criticism from some latino groups in past, who say she has made an about-face from stances she took at her job before entering the administration.
"In 2008, you left your job as an advocate for the Latino community to work in the White House. Ms. Muñoz, it is time for you to come home to your community. It is time to tell the truth and stop defending the indefensible."
What did Munoz do exactly before joining the Obama White House? She was a vice president at the National Council of La Raza, "The Race."
The NCLR is a tax-exempt nonprofit that describes themselves as "the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States." The organization most recently lead in vocal opposition against Arizona SB 1070, and received $1,000,000 in earkmarks during fiscal year 2010 "to be used for nationwide community development activities."
Munoz's hire to the White House straight from the NCLR was met with immediate criticism for it violated Obama's own stance against Obama-Biden administration political appointees working on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. Munoz has been described as having served as the Obama Administration's point person on immigration since joining the White House staff.
Aside from the hire's violation of political appointee rules on connections to lobbying interests, critics have raised eyebrows about the actual intentions of the NCLR.
The late Rep. Charlie Norwood wrote in 2006:
"The Council of La Raza succeeded in having itself added to congressional hearings by Republican House and Senate leaders. And an anonymous senator even gave the Council of La Raza an extra $4 million in earmarked taxpayer money, supposedly for 'housing reform,' while La Raza continues to lobby the Senate for virtual open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens.
Behind the respectable front of the National Council of La Raza lies the real agenda of the La Raza movement, the agenda that led to those thousands of illegal immigrants in the streets of American cities, waving Mexican flags, brazenly defying our laws, and demanding concessions.
Key among the secondary organizations is the radical racist group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan (MEChA), one of the most anti-American groups in the country, which has permeated U.S. campuses since the 1960s, and continues its push to carve a racist nation out of the American West."
In 2008 Michelle Malkin wrote a list of 15 "La Raza Facts" which included demands for in-state tuition discounts for illegal alien students that are not available to law-abiding U.S. citizens and law-abiding legal immigrants, support for driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, and calls for the the removal of immigration enforcement proponents from TV and cable news.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told POLITICO Tuesday that “Cecilia is the best person for the job,” and declined to say whether Muñoz’s ties to the Hispanic community played any role in her selection.