Obama Announces Appointments; Congressional Hispanic Caucus Lobbies for More Hispanics

Written by FAIR

December 9, 2008
President-elect Obama announced last week who he plans to nominate for several high-level positions in his administration. If confirmed, these individuals will have the opportunity to shape and enforce immigration policy through the way they carry out their duties and by having a direct line of communication with Obama. The list includes:

As Secretary of State, Clinton would oversee several administrative offices that work with immigration-related affairs, including visa and passport issuance, consular affairs, and monitoring and preventing human trafficking. In the Senate, Hillary Clinton supported the Bush-Kennedy amnesty bill and cosponsored the DREAM Act and AgJOBS bills. She has also said that she supports efforts to strengthen the border and advocates sanctions for employers who hire illegal aliens. (Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton: Immigration)

If confirmed, Richardson will take over a large department that - among other responsibilities - will oversee the 2010 census. (The Boston Globe, December 4, 2008) As a former Democratic presidential candidate and current governor of New Mexico, Richardson's positions on immigration are fairly well-documented. Richardson supports granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens (FOXNews Transcript, August 21, 2005); opposes building a fence along the border (CNN Transcript, June 10, 2007); believes we should increase legal immigration; and supports amnesty. The New Mexico governor also supports employer sanctions; increasing the manpower and technological capabilities of the Border Patrol; and cracking down on document fraud. (Presidential Campaign Website)

Muñoz will leave her current post as Senior Vice President for the National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation to serve in the Obama White House. (NCLR News Release, November 26, 2008) As Intergovernmental Affairs Director, she will oversee the White House office responsible for communication between the Obama administration and state and local governments. (Washington Post, November 26, 2008) For decades, the La Raza has supported amnesty programs, including last year's failed Bush-Kennedy amnesty bill. NCLR also opposes the REAL ID Act; disagrees with "efforts to make state and local police responsible for the enforcement of federal immigration laws"; and advocates passage of the DREAM Act and AgJOBS bills. (NCLR: Immigration)

Obama also announced that he will nominate Retired General James L. Jones to serve as his National Security Advisor; Eric Holder for Attorney General; Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations; and will retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Positions on immigration for these individuals are not well-documented, though Jones is currently the president of the Institute for 21st Century Energy. The Institute - which is an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - has a transition plan for the incoming administration posted on its website that recommends that, within Obama's first year in office, "The administration and Congress should reform visa and immigration policies to enable the United States to attract and retain science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students from around the world to study for advanced degrees and remain in the United States to work." (Institute for 21st Century Energy: Transition Plan)

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) responded to the announcements last Tuesday by sending a letter to Obama's transition office, recommending 14 Hispanics for eight remaining cabinet positions. (Bloomberg, December 3, 2008) CHC Chairman Representative Joe Baca (D-CA) told Bloomberg that the caucus would be "disappointed" if Obama failed to nominate more Hispanics. (Id.) Pointing out that Richardson was the sole Hispanic that Obama has announced for a cabinet-level position thus far, Baca warned the President-elect that his legislative agenda could be jeopardized if he fails to nominate more Hispanics: "If it's just one, he's going to have to answer to a lot of the issues that come before us." (Id.) The CHC website lists 24 Members of Congress as its membership, including one Senator. (CHC Home Page)
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest, membership organization of concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest. FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest—more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.

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