Maria Echaveste
Maria Echaveste

MERCEDES, RGV – The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has enthusiastically welcomed President Obama’s nomination of Maria Echaveste as the next U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and urged the U.S. Senate to act expeditiously in confirming the nomination.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, which comprises more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials, has also commended the nomination.

Echaveste, who was born in Harlingen, Texas, would be the first Latina to hold the post of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, the birthplace of her parents. Echaveste she moved to California with her migrant farmworker family when she was young.

After leaving the White House, Echaveste she founded the Nueva Vista Group, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., that works with nonprofit organizations, associations and corporations on such issues as immigration, health care, telecommunications, labor and finances. She has served as a member of the board of directors of the United States/Mexico Foundation and the advisory board of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Echaveste has also held the post of policy and program development director for the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Echaveste received a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Stanford University and a law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School.

U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, is a member of the CHC. She said she is “thrilled” that Obama has nominated Echaveste to be America’s next Ambassador to Mexico. “As the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress, I applaud the selection of a fellow Mexican-American – and the first woman – to serve in this important post. A strong and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Mexico has always been important, but rarely more so than today. Our nations must work together to reform America’s broken immigration system, secure the U.S.-Mexico border, and make our trade practices more fair and equitable. Maria’s decades of experience in the public and private sectors – including at the highest levels of our government – make her an excellent choice to serve as America’s chief representative to our Mexican friends. I urge the Senate to act expeditiously on her nomination.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, D-New York, said Echaveste “brings a wealth of talent and expertise” to the post of ambassador to Mexico. “I am confident she will positively impact relations between our countries, promoting our shared prosperity, while ensuring collaboration on common problems,” Velázquez said.

U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, chairman of the CHC, spoke for many in the group when applauding Obama’s nomination of Echaveste. “Her nomination is a great source of pride for the Latino community, as she is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and served as Deputy Chief of Staff during the Clinton Administration. We extend our congratulations to Maria Echaveste and will continue to support her as her nomination moves forward in the Senate,” said Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, Texas.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, Texas, specializes in U.S.-Mexico relations. He said: “I congratulate Maria Echaveste on her nomination as the next American Ambassador to Mexico. I welcome the nomination of a fellow Texan as the Ambassador to Mexico, one of our strongest friends and partners in Latin America and the rest of the world. Our relationship with Mexico is a special and strong one and I urge quick action on the confirmation of Maria Echaveste to further foster our enduring friendship.”

Congressman Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico, is first vice chair of the CHC and chair of its diversity task force. “I congratulate Maria Echaveste on being nominated to serve as the next Ambassador to Mexico. She will bring to this important post a distinguished record from her time working in the White House to her experience in the private sector. Her work on critical policy issues such, as immigration and education, along with her commitment to public service will serve her and our nation well. I hope the Senate will move without delay to confirm Ms. Echaveste as the first woman to serve as Ambassador to Mexico.”

U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-California, is chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He, too, applauded Obama’s “wise selection” of Echaveste to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. “Maria has extensive experience working on international affairs in Latin America and has been instrumental in encouraging partnerships with Mexico at every level. She has skillfully directed a 1,500-person agency, advised Presidents, and ably represented our government at home and abroad during times of stress. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Maria would be the first woman to serve in this position. Given her unique qualifications, I urge the Senate to act swiftly to confirm Maria Echaveste for the critical post of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.”

U.S. José Serrano, D-New York, said he is confident Obama has made the right decision in selecting Echaveste to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. “I have known her for many years and have nothing but the utmost respect – both personally and professionally. I applaud President Obama’s decision to nominate this eminently qualified Hispanic woman for such an important post,” Serrano said.

U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Florida, said: “It is important to have a strong, capable and proficient leader that will serve both nations well in facilitating solid working relationships to protect human rights, strengthen our borders, and help immigrants seeking to be reunited with their families. I look forward to seeing Maria fill this role.”

U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, Texas, said: “Maria Echaveste is among the best and the brightest that our community has to offer. Her roots are in Texas and California – two states who understand well the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. She’ll be an excellent ambassador.”

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials issued this statement on the Echaveste nomination:

“We applaud the nomination of Maria Echaveste to serve as the nation’s next Ambassador to Mexico. A former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton and Special Representative to Bolivia, Ms. Echaveste would bring a deep understanding of domestic policy priorities and demonstrated experience representing the nation abroad to this position. If confirmed, Ms. Echaveste would be the first Latina to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

“A talented public servant with experience conveying politically sensitive Administration policies at home and abroad, we know Ms. Echaveste has the expertise needed to thrive as our nation’s next representative to Mexico. Throughout her career, Ms. Echaveste has worked directly on United States– Mexico policy issues including as a member of the Board of Directors of the United States/Mexico Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center. In these capacities, she has met regularly with Mexican political, business and intellectual leaders, developing a keen understanding of the major policy issues of importance to both countries.

“During her time as Wage and Hour Administrator at the Department of Labor from 1993 to 1997, Ms. Echaveste demonstrated her commitment to immigrant laborers, arguing that labor laws applied to all workers, regardless of their status, by working to prevent the Immigration and Naturalization Service from intimidating workers who were trying to organize. Though a longtime supporter of commonsense immigration reform, Ms. Echaveste understands firsthand that the relationship between the United States and Mexico goes well beyond issues of immigration, including critical trade and commerce alliances, and a shared culture.

“Given her domestic policy expertise and extensive experience representing our country abroad, we have no doubt Ms. Echaveste has the tools to build and sustain the strong relationship between the United States and Mexico. We stand ready to work with the Administration to support Ms. Echaveste and her nomination to serve as the nation’s first Latina Ambassador to Mexico.”