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President Barack Obama Nominates Maria Echaveste as New US Ambassador to Mexico with Ties to Immigration

First Posted: Sep 19, 2014 05:24 PM EDT
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President Barack Obama announced new nominations for "key" administrative posts, including a new U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

According to the White House Office of the Press Secretary, Obama intends to nominate Maria Echaveste, currently a senior adviser at NVG, LLC, a company she co-founded in 2001, as the next Mexican ambassador on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she will become the first woman to hold the position.

Echaveste is also University of California, Berkeley's School of Law's policy and program development director at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy.

"In addition to serving on the Berkeley Law faculty, Echaveste is affiliated with UC Berkeley's Center for Latin American Studies. She is a graduate of both UC Berkeley and Stanford University," noted UC Berkeley's Kathleen Maclay.

According to Maclay, Echeveste has worked to develop and engage Mexican-American youth as a board member of the U.S./Mexico Foundation's Mexican-American Leadership Initiative.

Echaveste previously served as Special Representative to Bolivia in 2009. She also has experience in the White House as assistant to then-President Bill Clinton and as deputy chief of staff from 1998 to 2001. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor, Echaveste was the administrator for the Wage and Hour Division from 1993 through 1997. Echaveste served 12 years, between 1980 and 1992, as a corporate litigation attorney.

"Maria would bring a combination of policy, business and advocacy experience to her role as ambassador," said the Woodrow Wilson Research Center's Andrew Selee to the Dallas News. "She would also be the first U.S. ambassador with deep ties to immigrant-run organizations, although she is equally at home in corporate boardrooms or the halls of the U.S. Congress."

The Dallas News noted Echaveste is a Texas native but moved with her Mexican immigrant family to California.

Although she may have a connection to the topic of immigration, the White House released a statement on the matter, stating, "While Echaveste has been actively involved in the effort to pass sensible immigration reform, she understands that the relationship between the United States and Mexico goes well beyond issues of immigration reform, including critical trade and commerce alliances."

Echaveste's nomination was announced along with Richard Rahul Verma's nomination as U.S. Ambassador to India.

"I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead," Obama said in a statement about his latest nominations.

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