Lorella Praeli, Former Dreamer Activist, Hired By Hillary Clinton Campaign As Latino Outreach Director

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Actress Roselyn Sanchez and Lorella Praeli of United We Dream speak onstage at the DoSomething.org and VH1's 2013 Do Something Awards at Avalon on July 31, 2013 in Hollywood, California. Praeli was recently named Hillary for America's Latino Outreach Director for her 2016 presidential campaign. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

After Hillary for America National Political Director Amanda Renteria confirmed on Wednesday that Hillary Clinton had hired former Dream activist Lorella Praeli as the campaign’s Latino Outreach director, internet media flew in every direction. Right-leaning publications pointed out that Praeli was formerly an undocumented immigrant. In some cases they blatantly misreported Praeli’s immigration status. Latinos-focused outlets denounced the move as “Hispandering.” The campaign’s decision followed recent moves by Hillary Clinton to identify herself as a pro-immigrant candidate after years of what even Praeli agreed was “speaking out of both sides of her mouth.” Clinton’s campaign is confident in their decision to bring the Praeli into the fold.  

"We are thrilled to have Lorella Praeli, a Dreamer, join our team because of her courage and perspective in the fight for Latino families across the country," Renteria said in a press release. "Her experiences and relationships will be valuable in developing the coalition to ensure the Latino community has a voice in this campaign and in this country."

A former Dreamer, Praeli spent 13 years as an undocumented immigrant after her father brought her to the U.S. from Peru when she was 10 years old. She received a green card in 2012, documentation that she is in fact a legal permanent U.S. resident (but not a citizen). Before accepting the Latino Outreach position for the Hillary Clinton campaign, she was advocacy director for United We Dream, a pro-immigrant groups that employs a number of organizers who recipients of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DAPA) program. Those organizers are legally employed thanks to DAPA rules, but they are still technically violating immigration law.

The Washington Times was one of the outlets that mis-reported Praeli’s immigration status, stating that Praeli was a DAPA recipient and implying that she had committed a crime. “As part of [Obama’s] amnesty, she has tentative legal status and a work permit, so it is legal to hire her -- but she is still not a lawful presence,” said the article, titled “Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Hires Illegal Immigrant ‘Dreamer’” drew the ire from immigration advocates. The Times had not published a correction as of Friday morning. Aside from the inaccuracy, immigrant’s right advocates deplore language that implies that immigrants themselves are illegal. Calling Praeli herself an “unlawful presence” left some observers flustered.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign didn’t get any slack from traditionally pro-immigrant outlets either. Contributors to Latino Rebels referred to the Lorella Praeli hiring as insincere in two separate articles this week. In an article titled “Latinos Don’t Have A Party,” Hector Luis Alamo described the Praeli hire as an example of “shrewd” decisions to bring Latinos into the campaign (he cites Chicana Amanda Rentería as another).

“In order to sway the Latino voter bloc in her favor, Clinton has made prominent DREAMer Lorella Praeli her campaign’s Latino outreach director. I do not believe that Clinton bringing in a DREAMer is a coincidence,” wrote Angel Rodriguez in a piece entitled “Please, Hillary, Enough with the Hispandering.”

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