Open-border advocates are furious over the addition of former Obama administration immigration expert Cecilia Muñoz to Joe Biden’s transition team, according to The Hill.
Muñoz, formerly with the National Council of La Raza before joining the Obama administration, was harshly criticized by immigration advocates for not doing enough for immigrant rights during her time in the Obama White House – and instead, “too often defended policies that led to the deportation of more than 2 million people.“
“Huge mistake. Huge. Huge mistake. Worst part? We have no other option. I guess we gotta pick our opponent. That’s what it has come down to,” wrote immigration rights activist Erika Andiola, advocacy director for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
‘If Biden wins, no one from the Obama administration should be allowed to touch the immigration policy portfolio,” said Pablo Manríquez, a former Democratic National Committee spokesman who’s been overtly critical of Obama on immigration.
“Cecilia Muñoz is the one person besides [Trump White House aide] Steven Miller who has spent years of her public service dedicated to the smooth execution of mass deportation policy at the West Wing level,” he added.
The criticism reflects in part the view that Muñoz did not advocate enough for immigration rights during internal discussions in the Obama White House. Instead, advocates say she too often defended policies that led to the deportation of more than 2 million people.
“She was the person in the White House who shielded Obama from all the flak,” said Amy Maldonado, an immigration lawyer whose clients include minors in detention.
“The whole reason she was in that room was to give a perspective they weren’t hearing, and instead she covered for them,” added Maldonado.
The criticism comes as Biden continues to underperform with Latino voters, a fact that is alarming to many Democrats. –The Hill
According to an NBC News-Marist poll from Tuesday, Biden is trailing Trump among Latino voters in Florida – 50% to 46%. In 2016, Hillary Clinton led Trump with Latinos by 25%, according to exit polls.
And while Biden has publicly tried to distance himself from the Obama administration’s “kids in cages” immigration policy, his addition of Muñoz is giving pro-immigration Democrats tough choices to make. The former Obama adviser has both White House experience and immigration expertise, making her a “natural fit” for Biden’s team according to the report.
A former Capitol Hill staffer with deep knowledge of immigration deliberations during the Obama administration lauded Muñoz, saying “she was advocating for immigration reform and the president leaning in to immigration in a positive way.”
Muñoz remained publicly loyal to Obama when the then-president was referred to by some as the deporter in chief, something perceived by some in the immigration space as a betrayal. –The Hill
“There were lots of moments when people thought she should resign in protest and she didn’t. She stuck with it and it earned her a lot of enemies on the pro-immigrant left,” a former staffer told The Hill.