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Posted: January 13, 2012

Amie Parnes and Erik Wasson – The Hill

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.

Obama has frequently been criticized by pro-immigration reform advocates for not pressing harder for changes to the country’s immigration laws. Hispanic groups also have complained that the administration has stepped up deportations of illegal aliens.

All of this has led to questions about whether Obama will garner strong support from Hispanics in his 2012 reelection bid. It is crucial to Obama’s reelection that he win a large majority of the Hispanic vote, particularly in critical swing states such as Florida, New Mexico and Colorado.

Carney called Muñoz “the best person for the job.”

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.

“Over the past three years, Cecilia has been a trusted advisor who has demonstrated sound judgment day in and day out,” the president said. “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.”

A senior administration official credited Munoz’s work on immigration and disaster relief and said she has successfully brought the voices of local and state officials into the White House through her work at the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

“She’s the perfect fit for this job,” the official told The Hill. “This is someone who is very much ready for the position.”

On immigration, she has been the president’s “key person” on the issue “working to fix the system that’s broken” the official said, adding that she brings 20 years of immigration policy with her to the post.

While her new post will continue to give Hispanics a “strong voice,” administration officials said she wasn’t given the position to pander to that community. “She’s immensely qualified for this position. She’s someone who is very much respected by her colleagues.”

At the same time, “she’s not afraid to make her viewpoints known,” the official said.

The National Immigration Forum, which supports providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, applauded the Muñoz appointment while saying it underlined the need for Obama to take action.

“With this move, the pressure is on the president to move forward with an aggressive domestic policy agenda” on immigration,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. He said this agenda should include focusing enforcement on security threats and not on immigrant workers and families “caught up in a broken system.”

The group later amended Noorani’s statement to call on action by Congress as well.

“While Ms. Muñoz’s appointment is a positive step, at the end of the day, Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to come together to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Noorani said in the amended statement.

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.”

Barnes left her position at the end of last month and is looking for work in the private sector. On Monday the White House announced that Chief of Staff Bill Daley will soon step down and be replaced by Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew.

Carney said there is no word yet on who will replace Lew as Budget director. In the briefing he offered praise for congressional liaison Rob Nabors, a man insiders think has the best shot at the job.


WHO IS CECILIA MUNOZ?SOME ADDITIONAL INFORATION FROM LIBERTY NEWS ON LINE:Cecilia Munoz came to the White House via 20+ years running the racist Mexican hate group, La Raza [NCLR].

Amit Pandya, her husband, works for George Soros’ Open Society Institute as a “counselor.”



…. The influential and politically-connected National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has long benefitted from Uncle Sam’s largess but the group has made a killing since Obama hired its senior vice president (Cecilia Muñoz) in 2009 to be his director of intergovernmental affairs.

Ignored by the mainstream media, Judicial Watch covered the appointment because the president issued a special “ethics waiver” to bring Muñoz aboard since it violated his own lobbyist ban. At the pro illegal immigration NCLR, Muñoz supervised all legislative and advocacy activities on the state and local levels and she was heavily involved in the congressional immigration battles that took place in the George W. Bush Administration.

She also brought in a steady flow of government cash that’s allowed the Washington D.C.-based group to expand nationwide and promote its leftist, open-borders agenda via a network of community organizations dedicated to serving Latinos. Among them are a variety of local groups that provide social services, housing counseling and farm worker assistance as well as publicly-funded charter schools that promote radical Chicano curriculums. Judicial Watch published a special report on this a few years ago.

This week a JW probe has uncovered details of the alarming increase in federal funding that these NCLR groups have received since Muñoz joined the Obama Administration. In fact, the government cash more than doubled the year Muñoz joined the White House, from $4.1 million to $11 million.

Not surprisingly, a big chunk of the money (60%) came from the Department of Labor, which is headed by a former California congresswoman (Hilda Solis) with close ties to the La Raza movement. Since Obama named her Labor Secretary, Solis has launched a nationwide campaign to protect illegal immigrant workers in the U.S. Just this week Solis penned declarations with Guatemala and Nicaragua to preserve the rights of their migrants.

The NCLR also received additional taxpayer dollars from other federal agencies in 2010, the JW probe found. The Department of Housing and Urban Development doled out $2.5 million for housing counseling, the Department of Education contributed nearly $800,000 and the Centers for Disease Control a quarter of a million.

Additionally, NCLR affiliates nationwide raked in tens of millions of government grant and recovery dollars last year thanks to the Muñoz factor. An offshoot called Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) saw its federal funding nearly double to $18.3 million following Muñoz’ appointment. A social service and legal assistance organization (Ayuda Inc.) that didn’t receive any federal funding between 2005 and 2008 got $600,000 in 2009 and $548,000 in 2010 from the Department of Justice. The group provides immigration law services and guarantees confidentiality to assure illegal aliens that they won’t be reported to authorities.