In reality, her appointment as director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council will lead to little change for Hispanics
Cecilia Muñoz’s promotion to head of President Barack Obama’s Domestic Policy Council means different things to different people. Hispanic activists see Muñoz’s new job as putting them on the inside track to realize their agenda. Patriotic Americans worry that they may be right.
First, here are a few things about Muñoz’s curriculum vitae. Before her recent appointment, Muñoz served as director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, a nebulous White House position Obama created for her. Before that, Muñoz worked for 20 years as a registered lobbyist for La Raza, a single-issue legislative organization. The single issue for which La Raza lobbies is amnesty for Hispanic illegal aliens and, until such legislation passes, more entitlements for them.
Muñoz’s La Raza boss, president and chief executive officer Janet Murguia, sat at the White House meetings during 2006 and 2007 when then-President George W. Bush unsuccessfully tried to ram through his comprehensive immigration reform package. Organizations opposed to amnesty, such as the Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR, weren’t invited.
Since Muñoz gained access to the White House’s inner sanctum, her former employer has received federal subsidies in excess of $15 million that have been redirected to causes that it calls “community development.” More specifically, they’re earmarked for “Hispanic community development” such as the DREAM Act and driver’s licenses for aliens.
Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, praised Muñoz as “a tireless champion of Latinos in the U.S. generally and long overdue immigration reform specifically.”
These are only few things about Muñoz and La Raza that alarm concerned Americans that she may use her influential position to make further gains in housing and education for her constituency at their expense.
In reality, little will change for Hispanics policy-wise for two reasons. First, her title aside, Muñoz isn’t any better positioned to influence immigration legislation than she was before. That responsibility lies with Congress — and Congress has been staunchly opposed to liberalizing immigration laws. Second, Muñoz’s boss is already solidly in her camp. Despite the wishes of the majority, Obama sees great political value in giving citizenship to every alien residing in the country.
Obama’s Muñoz maneuvering confirms that he has gambled his future on what’s widely referred to as the “crucial Hispanic voting bloc.”
Obama’s miscalculated. His pivotal votes will come from moderates, independents and undecideds; in other words, those who put him into office in 2008 but, in 2012, are deeply disenchanted.
The Hispanic vote is already in Obama’s back pocket. They typically vote about 65 percent Democratic. Their threat to stay home unless Obama bows to their every demand is nonsense. Not voting would translate into a Republican landslide. That, in turn, could mean that Republicans will control both congressional chambers and the White House, something Hispanics absolutely don’t want.
Ethnic identity politics may not pay off for Obama. But he can’t turn back now.
— Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns — mostly about immigration and related social issues — since 1990 and is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). After 25 years as an English as a Second Language teacher in the Lodi Unified School District, Guzzardi has retired to Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected].