Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, praised today’s confirmation of Tom Perez as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) by a vote in the Senate of 72–22.
“Tom is the poised and experienced leader necessary to restore the Civil Rights Division to its full capacity at the Department of Justice,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “He is deeply committed to inclusion and diversity and has been a strong supporter of Latino and other civil rights organizations. His commitment is especially critical at a time when hate crimes against Latinos have increased by 40% since 2003.”
Mr. Perez has served with distinction in local, state, and federal government and has a long and successful track record of ensuring and protecting the civil rights of all Americans. As Special Counsel to Senator Ted Kennedy, he was the senator’s principal advisor on civil rights and criminal justice issues. At the DOJ, he rose from prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division—during which he supervised the prosecution of a landmark hate crime case involving White supremacists and the Black community in Texas—to Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under Attorney General Janet Reno. As Director of the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Clinton administration, he was a strong advocate for cultural competence in all HHS programs.
“NCLR is pleased that the Department of Justice will have an experienced leader who understands that the Civil Rights Division is the watchdog protecting the civil rights of all Americans,” Murguía said. “Equally important, as Latinos mature politically and continue to vote in record numbers, we expect the division will serve as the guardian against voter intimidation, prosecuting those who wish to disenfranchise an entire population.”
Murguía praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his leadership in bringing Perez’s nomination to the Senate floor for a vote. “During these challenging times, Senator Reid has demonstrated extraordinary leadership when faced with opposition on major issues,” concluded Murguía.