- Activist who supports immigration reform that guarantees "a path
to citizenship for the current undocumented population"
- Longtime policy analyst for the National Council of La
- Was appointed President Obama as director of intergovernmental affairs in 2009
- Was appointed by President Obama as director of the Domestic Policy Council in 2012
See also: National Council of La
youngest of four children, Cecilia Muñoz was born in Detroit,
Michigan on July 27, 1962, to parents who had immigrated to the
United States from La Paz, Bolivia. In 1984 Muñoz graduated from the
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) with degrees in English and Latin
Studies, and she subsequently earned a master's degree at UC
Berkeley. She then took a job
with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago as head of the
Legalization Outreach Program for Catholic Charities. Following the
1986 enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act—an amnesty
program that allowed some 2.7
immigrants to receive
lawful permanent residence (green cards) in the late 1980s and early
operated twelve field offices throughout metropolitan Chicago and helped
more than 5,000 immigrants obtain U.S. citizenship.
1988 Muñoz became
the senior immigration policy analyst for the National Council of La
1996 Muñoz strongly opposed the welfare
reform bill that would ultimately lift millions
of welfare recipients out of poverty by moving them into paying jobs
they were able to earn their own way instead of being the wards of
American taxpayers. Muñoz's chief complaint was that the bill made illegal immigrants ineligible
to continue receiving food stamps and Supplemental Security Income
Under Muñoz, NCLR advised
the Mexican government on how to lobby for amnesty on behalf of
illegal aliens in the United States. In recognition of her efforts in this regard,
Mexico's Institute for Mexicans Residing Abroad rewarded Muñoz with
its Ohtli Prize for her service to that country.
2000 Muñoz won
a MacArthur Fellowship for her work with NCLR. Upon receiving the award, Muñoz announced that she would use the $500,000 that came with it to help bankroll La Raza's initiatives.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Muñoz stated that “there’s no relationship between immigration and terrorism.”
In 2007 Muñoz
portions of that year's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act,
particularly a measure that would have created a clear path to
citizenship for illegal immigrants; indeed she described opposition to
as a “wave
of hate.” However, Muñoz and La Raza emphasized
that they would not ultimately support any bill in its entirety unless it included "a path
to citizenship for the current undocumented population; the creation
of new legal channels for future immigrant workers; a reduction of
family immigration backlogs; and the protection of civil rights and
During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Muñoz served as one of Barack Obama's top advisers
on immigration issues and Hispanic relations. In January 2009, President Obama appointed
her as director of intergovernmental affairs.
Three years after that, President Obama appointed Muñoz as
director of the Domestic Policy Council. In so doing, Obama signed
a waiver exempting her from his campaign pledge which stated that
no political appointees in the Obama administration would be “permitted
to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially
related to their prior employer for two years.” Muñoz's
appointment was cheered
by government unions
like the Service Employees International Union and left-wing activist
groups like the Center for American Progress.
reckoning, America is a nation rife with white racism and bigotry. "The
line between anti-immigrant and anti-Latino is pretty thin," she
"The day when my kids can walk down the street and be called
American, that's the goal." On another occasion, Muñoz told
The Detroit News: “It gets old. We're tired of being treated
as if we don't belong here."
Fiercely opposed to those
who call for stronger border
protections and the deportation of illegal immigrants, Muñoz asserts
that “undocumented workers” have added as much as $10 billion to
the U.S. economy.
For additional information on Cecilia Munoz, click here.