Thomas Perez Will Bring Needed Leadership as Head of Civil Rights Division at U.S. Department of Justice

March 19, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organization, today expressed strong support for President Obama’s selection of Maryland Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Secretary Perez has a record of leadership in government and commitment to vigorous civil rights enforcement to ensure that all Americans are treated fairly. As a former federal prosecutor for the Civil Rights Division and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under former Attorney General Janet Reno, he has a broad command of the issues and high level of expertise on the myriad institutional challenges the Civil Rights Division must overcome in order to be once again at the forefront of civil rights enforcement in the nation,” stated MALDEF Chairman of the Board Patricia A. Madrid.

A former Maryland county elected official, Secretary Perez has previously served as Special Counsel to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. There he was Senator Kennedy’s principal advisor on civil rights, criminal justice and constitutional justice issues. In the final two years of the Clinton Administration, he served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The post is subject to Senate confirmation and MALDEF urges quick approval by the Senate of the Perez nomination.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund