Proyecto 20% Coalition Applauds Biden’s Diverse Initial Slate of Presidential Appointees, Urges Increase in Latino and Latina Senior Agency Hires

WASHINGTON, DC—Last week, the White House Office of Presidential Personnel released new data about the diversity of presidential appointees hired by day 100 of the Biden-Harris administration. The Proyecto 20% coalition of national Latino organizations applauds the administration for its dedication to a diverse staff that is reflective of the American people, and in particular for the historic nominations of four Hispanic cabinet nominees, the largest number of first-term Hispanic cabinet members. The coalition nonetheless continues to push for a firm commitment that at least 20 percent of political appointments are held by Latino/as by mid-year.

According to the White House, 15 percent of President Biden’s initial 1,701 appointees identify as Latino/as, inclusive of the Senate-confirmed roles. However, there are thousands of jobs that still need to be filled, as presidents typically hire roughly 4,000 political appointees.

The Proyecto 20% coalition is working to ensure that 20 percent, or 800, of the 4,000 political appointments are filled with qualified Latinos and Latinas, given the importance of equitable Hispanic representation in all departments and agencies and at all levels. Hispanics account for nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population. The coalition continues to be committed to helping to identify qualified Hispanics and create a much-needed pipeline, especially in key agencies where the issues are of great importance to the Latino community.

“We applaud President Biden for his dedication to building an administration that looks like America during his first 100 days in office,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía.  “We continue to be concerned about the glaring omissions in key federal agencies where either none or few Latino/as have been appointed to positions of leadership. I and my Proyecto 20% colleagues look forward to continuing to work with the administration to identify qualified Hispanic talent and create the necessary pipeline.”

Proyecto 20% is also calling on the Biden-Harris administration to be more transparent about data related to the demographics of recruitment and hiring pool of candidates. More clarity and sharing of this data will allow for complete accountability in achieving the equity and inclusion goals set by the administration.

“This pandemic has further amplified the deep inequities faced by Latinos. Our community is twice as likely to be infected, twice as likely to die and three times as likely to be hospitalized. While we have made great progress in creating jobs for our community, Latino unemployment is nearly double what it was before the pandemic. To guide our communities out of this crisis, we need more Latinos in positions of senior leadership in key agencies that relate to jobs, justice and the economy,” said Mi Familia Vota Executive Director and CEO Hector Sanchez Barba. “Unfortunately, there is still a gap in Latino representation in senior positions, with few appointments of Latinos to positions like deputy secretaries or chiefs of staff. We need the administration to appoint Latinos to the highest levels of government in order to drive policy that benefits our community and the United States.”

“We commend the Biden administration for keeping its promise to ensure that this administration reflects our nation’s diversity, but we need more diverse Latino voices around the table and in leadership. There is no shortage of highly qualified Latino talent. We urge the administration to also prioritize gender and disability equity—and consider more Latinas, LGBTQ Latino, and Latinos with disabilities candidates for leadership roles. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to ensure that these qualified, committed public servants can receive appropriate consideration,” said Nathalie Rayes, President & CEO of Latino Victory Fund.

“As the largest minority group in the nation for 18 years, Latinos can no longer accept the severe underrepresentation it has continually experienced at all levels of federal employment,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).  “Twenty percent is a reasonable and attainable goal that the Biden Administration is more than capable of meeting; we look forward to greater progress in Latino inclusion in leadership throughout the federal government.”

“We commend the Biden Administration for the diverse representation they have achieved so far. We urge President Biden to insist that his team be intentional in also selecting the most qualified Latino and Latina candidates to fill a wide array of government positions across key agencies. America will build back better only when every community, including Latinos, are represented,” stated Sindy M. Benavides, CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).