Photo: White House's Cecilia Munoz Underfire
A Latino radio host and blogger is calling for Cecilia Muñoz to resign from the White House for her defense of the administration’s deportation policies. Presente.org, the immigrant rights group that led the petition to get CNN’s Lou Dobbs off the air, is demanding that Muñoz denounce the Secure Communities program.
In response, a group of some of the nation’s leading immigrant advocacy organizations released a statement Monday in support of Muñoz.
The controversy may reveal a difference of opinion within the immigrant rights movement over which strategy to take when advocating for the rights of immigrants in the United States.
At the center of the storm is Muñoz, a longtime immigrant rights organizer who now works for an administration that has overseen the deportation of a record number of undocumented immigrants.
Before joining the White House, Muñoz worked for the National Council of La Raza, where she was known as an advocate for immigrants’ rights. Muñoz was appointed Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in 2009, and has since gotten flak from some immigration advocates for her statements defending the Obama administration’s policies.
Among the most controversial is Secure Communities, the program that requires municipal police to share the fingerprints of all arrestees with federal immigration authorities. The administration claims that the program focuses on deporting criminals, but critics argue that many of those deported under the program have been undocumented immigrants with no criminal record.
Others joined in the call for Muñoz to resign after she appeared in a Frontline documentary about federal immigration detention centers that aired on public television on Oct. 18. On that program, Muñoz said this about the record number of deportations under the Obama administration:
“At the end of the day, when you have immigration law that’s broken and you have a community of 10 million, 11 million people living and working in the United States illegally, some of these things are going to happen. Even if the law is executed with perfection, there will be parents separated from their children. They don’t have to like it, but it is a result of having a broken system of laws. And the answer to that problem is reforming the law….”