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Obama's Inner Circle

Publication Date: 
March 31, 2008
National Journal
James A. Barnes

Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, who heads up Barack Obama's Immigration Policy Advisory Committee, is quoted in a National Journal story about Sen. Obama's campaign advisors:

...Committee head Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, a law professor at Stanford University, said that the advisers' common thread is a belief that progress on immigration reform requires "a certain kind of dialogue" -- not a fight -- that includes Democrats, Republicans, and independents; is intellectually honest; and recognizes the need to work across government jurisdictions and policy areas. "I think a lot of us on this committee would like to make a difference," Cuéllar said.

...A veteran of President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign, Cuéllar, now 35, was a top Treasury Department official from 1997 to 1999. Cuéllar, who goes by "Tino," also advises Obama on criminal justice and national security issues, as well as on outreach to Latino voters.

Like Obama, he believes that comprehensive immigration reform must go beyond addressing border security and the status of the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants to confronting the current system's bureaucratic failings, providing job opportunities for American workers, promoting economic development in Latin America, and determining "how our immigration policy reflects our values and needs as Americans." Cuéllar, who joined the Obama campaign in April 2007, brings expertise on the regulatory side of immigration and international security, as well as what he calls a "passion" for refugee policy.