Advocate of Immigrants Tapped for White House

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 02, 2008 1 min read
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Cecilia Munoz has been selected to be the director of intergovernmental affairs for Barack Obama’s administration, according to the Washington Post. She’s now the senior vice president at the National Council of La Raza and was a 2000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” winner. In her new job, she will be in charge of the White House office responsible for relations between the Obama administration and state and local governments. A 2005 piece on National Public Radio provides insight into her motivation to stand up for the rights of immigrants.

Education Week has quoted Ms. Munoz over the years on issues concerning immigrants and education. Back in 1988, for example, she spoke in the pages of Education Week about the need for additional adult education and English-as-a-second-language classes to accommodate the large numbers of immigrants who sought amnesty under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.

More recently, I’ve heard her argue for passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, while speaking on a panel about Latinos and education. That act would have provided a path to legalization for undocumented graduates of U.S. high schools who went on to college or joined the military. In October 2007, the act stalled in the U.S. Congress.

Mr. Obama has spoken publicly in support of the DREAM Act, so it will be interesting to see if the U.S. Congress revives it after he becomes president.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.