It’s fitting that Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar grew up in Calexico, the California town whose name is a combination of California and Mexico. As a leader of President-elect Barack Obama’s task force on immigration, Cuéllar can certainly use some transcultural sensitivity.
Cuéllar, a law professor at Stanford University, has been named one of the co-heads of the Obama transition’s Immigration Policy Working Group. The transition’s web site says he is in charge of “working on a plan to implement the President-elect’s commitments to fix the immigration system through legislative and executive actions that promote prosperity, enhance our security, strengthen families, and advance the rule of law.”
Cuéllar has called the current immigration situation in the U.S. “a humanitarian crisis that we’ve ignored” and one that deserves an appropriate response, Spanish wire Agencia EFE reported.
EFE interviewed pro-immigration reform activists, who said they were satisfied with the appointment. Cuéllar, reporter María Peña wrote, “is known for his pragmatism and sensitivity toward the subject and his appointment this week confirms … that the incoming administration is committed to comprehensive immigration reform.”
Clarissa Martinez de Castro of the National Council of La Raza, told Peña:
Cuéllar is a good choice and we think that this time reason will win out over the toxic rhetoric of groups that have tried to inject fear into the electorate about immigrants. He’s very pragmatic and, although the economy is the United States’ top priority at this time, we think that in the end people will recognize that sensible immigration policy also will be good for our economy.