Cecilia Muñoz, Obama’s Liaison to Latinos, Gets a Big Promotion

Some civil right groups are praising the move but Muu00f1oz also faces criticism because of the Obama administration's record number of deportations.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 10, 2012

President Obama announced today that he will appoint Cecilia Muñoz to serve as the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Muñoz has been serving as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs since January 2009. She’s also widely recognized as the lead liaison to the Latino community and the the White House.

"Muñoz has become the White House spokesperson for the Obama administration’s immigration policies, which has meant that she’s been a vocal advocate for the federal DREAM Act, but also been called on to defend Obama’s controversial enforcement programs which have led to a million deportations under Obama’s watch," said Colorlines.com’s immigration reporter Julianne Hing.

Muños seen in a White House video from May 2011.

Before joining the Obama Administration, Muñoz was the Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza. The daughter of Bolivian immigrants, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2000 for her work on immigration and civil rights.

But most recently, as the liaison to the Latino community, she’s defended Obama’s harsh immigration policies.

"She drew heaps of criticism from Latino advocacy groups for looking journalist Maria Hinojosa in the eye during a Frontline documentary and confidently defending policies which have led to the ruthless separation of immigrant families under her boss’s watch," Hing points out.

"In so doing, she also repeated Obama administration statements that the majority of people deported are convicted criminals; data show this is just not the truth," Hing went on to say.

"Being Latina does not give you a license to advocate for, and spin around, policies that devastate Latinas," said Presente.org co-founder Roberto Lovato in a statement. "Presente.org has attacked right-wing people like Lou Dobbs," Lovato said. "Muñoz is out there talking about immigrants like she’s a Republican white man. The messenger has changed, but the message is the same."

Hing says with her new appointment, folks face a new set of questions.

"How will she use her new position to further the goals of the Obama administration’s deportation agenda? Will she be able to effectively uphold the values she stood for prior to joining the administration?"