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Obama administration names Munoz to head domestic policy

President Obama Tuesday named a former immigration advocate as his top advisor on domestic policy. The president appointed his senior aide, Cecelia Munoz, to head the Domestic Policy Council. Munoz replaces Melody Barnes, who left the White House position last year.

Munoz will coordinate the Obama Administration's domestic policy-making process and supervise implementation of White House domestic policy. Munoz is being elevated from her position as a deputy assistant to the president in charge of intergovernmental affairs. In that role she worked on many different issues ranging from civil rights and disaster relief to serving as the point person for the White House on immigration issues.

Some people who watch immigration issues hope that the promotion of Munoz to the top advisory spot on domestic policy may signal a potential push by the administration toward immigration reform. However, some immigration activists have directed criticism toward Munoz in her previous role, where she worked with the administration's immigration portfolio.

One immigration advocate, the vice president of the Center for American Progress, called the appointment of Munoz to lead the Domestic Policy Council "a home-run." She says Munoz will "turbo-charge" the debate over immigration issues in the White House.

Activists have criticized the administration for failing to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package. A second area of concern that has led to activists leveling criticism against Munoz comes in the area of immigration removal proceedings, an issue that the White House says it intends to overhaul. The issue of the high rate of recent deportations has been covered in this blog in a number of posts.

Before joining the White House in the Obama Administration Munoz worked as an advocate and a lobbyist. She won a prestigious grant in 2000, which is known as a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." She won the grant for her work on immigration and civil rights issues.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Obama taps Cecilia Munoz to head Domestic Policy Council," Peter Nicholas, Jan. 10, 2012

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