President Obama intends to name Thomas Perez as the new secretary of Labor, who currently serves as the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, reports the LA Times. If passed, Perez would be the only Latino in the Cabinet at this point in Obama's second term.
Two Cabinet-level Latinos from Obama's first term decided to leave their positions. Hilda L. Solis, a former California congresswoman, resigned as Labor secretary, and Ken Salazar, a former Colorado senator, is resigning as Interior secretary.
Perez is a first-generation Dominican American and is a Harvard-educated lawyer. His nomination is seen as an opportunity to raise the department's profile as the White House goes after immigration reform. Perez is favored by Democrats and members of organized labor, who see him as an advocate for worker and civil rights. He has filed lawsuits against law enforcement officials, including Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The nomination requires Senate confirmation and is expected to come soon, but has not been officially announced.
"He's a first-generation American, so in a way his story is the immigrant story," Christine Owens told the LA Times. Owens is the executive director of the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for workers. "He's always been deeply committed to immigrant workers' rights, and I do think he can bring both a professional and personal perspective as we implement immigration reform."