Who advocates for you?

Published on February 18th, 2012

President Obama has appointed Andrew Lorenz-Strait to be a "public advocate charged with listening to immigrants' concerns about it law enforcement policies."  According to whitehouse.gov and Mr. Strait's own blog posting, he and his staff (means yet another department or agency that the US cannot afford) "will serve as a point of contact for those in immigration proceedings, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other community and advocacy groups who have concerns, questions, recommendations or important issues they would like to raise."  Interestingly, immigrants have little to fear from immigration proceedings.  By virtue of the fact that they have the “immigrant” nomenclature, they have taken the steps to become legal residents of the US.  As immigrants, they have the same law enforcement concerns as US citizens and other legal residents.

Just a few weeks ago, President Obama appointed Cecilia Munoz as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Executive Office of the President.  "She manages the White House's relationships with state and local governmental entities and also serves as a principal liaison to the Hispanic community.  She was previously the Senior Vice President for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she supervised all legislative and advocacy activities conducted by NCLR policy staff nationally, including on the state and local levels."  Prior to her stint at the NCLR, she served as a community organizer for the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and trained Latino community groups to set up neighborhood community services to address local problems and directed Chicago's largest non-profit legalization program under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

In the President’s hard line stance against "lobbyists and others riding the revolving door between government service and the private sector in order to achieve personal gain at the expense of public interest," Mr. Obama bypassed his own Executive Order on Ethics and signed a waiver of the Executive order because "the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction, or (ii) that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver…"the "public interest" may include, but is not limited to, exigent circumstances relating to national security or to the economy and that de minimis contact with an executive agency shall also be cause for a waiver."  President Obama signed the waiver for Ms. Munoz in 2009.  Ms. Munoz was appointed to the Director position in 2012.  In the intervening three years, Ms. Munoz was an adviser to President Obama.  According to Obama, Ms. Munoz’s involvement in the Obama administration is in the public interest.

In February 2011, Obama appointed Andrea Bazan to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  "For many years, Ms. Bazán served as a member and was Chair of the National Council of La Raza…"  Just two years earlier in March 2009, President Obama appointed John Trasvina as the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development.  In 2006, Mr. Trasvina was the President & General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF).  Recently, he was a board member of the La Raza Lawyers Association. President Obama appointed Arturo Valenzuela as the Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department of State in May 2009.  Mr. Valenzuela has served on the board of the NCLR.

While President Obama places illegal immigration advocates in key positions in his administration, who advocates for you?

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