June 13, 2021

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They urge the Senate to confirm Latinos in Joe Biden’s cabinet

Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of National Security. Photo: EFE / Roberto Morejón / Archive

WASHINGTON – A coalition of Hispanic organizations on Friday expressed concern about the delays in the confirmation in the Senate of four Latinos nominated by President Joe Biden for cabinet positions, and blamed the Republican minority for their “delaying tactics.”

The groups, which form the so-called 20% Project, urged the Senate to proceed with the immediate confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of National Security, Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health, Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education and Isabel Guzmán as Director of the Small Business Administration.

“Each of these agencies is critical in addressing the economic and health crises of the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately affected Hispanics and other communities of color,” said a statement from the 20% Project.

The coalition, made up of numerous groups of Hispanic activists and businessmen, takes its name from the concept that, with almost 20% of the population of the United States, Latinos deserve proportional representation in government, from positions in the presidential cabinet to the leadership of government agencies.

“Our goal of reaching 20 5 (of representation) is ambitious but we want the new Administration to think big about diversity,” Janet Murguía, president of UnidosUS, said in a teleconference. “We appreciate that the appointments made by Biden are the most diverse in history.”

But “we are deeply concerned about the politicized effort to block Mayorkas’s candidacy when we experience urgent crises in terms of the response to national security and domestic terrorism,” Murguía continued.

“We need urgent action,” he added. “The delays are unjustifiable, and all of these candidates are highly qualified.”

For his part, Héctor Sánchez Barba, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, said that “it is not acceptable that the confirmations of these four cabinet candidates who are highly qualified and ready to do their job do not advance.”

“There has been a historical exclusion from the power of the Latino community,” he added. “Latinos are poorly represented in the central spaces of power. We have mobilized the Latino vote and we will continue to put pressure on all the structures that want to exclude us ”.

Frankie Miranda, president of the Hispanic Federation, praised “the Biden Administration’s commitment to serving all Americans with an administration that is viewed with the same diversity as the country.”

“The proposed candidates are excellent, and the Senate must confirm them quickly,” he added. “And it must also proceed to the confirmation of the other Latino candidates that we hope will be nominated. The Biden Administration will have a strong Hispanic presence that will reflect diversity even within Latino communities. “

Other conference participants included the president of the Mexican Fund for Legal Defense (MALDEF), Thomas Sáenz; the president of the Victoria Latina Project, Nathalie Reyes; the president of the United League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Domingo García; the president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Ramiro Cavazos, and the director of Voto Latino, Danny Friedman.

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