04/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Breaking News: MALDEF Leader Trasvina To Serve At HUD

Long time Latino civil rights attorney, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund John Trasvina has been tapped by the White House to serve in HUD as the Assistant Secretary of Housing and Equal Opportunity.

Trasvina has led MALDEF since 2006 and is credited by many for returning the organization to national prominence.

MALDEF has been the cornerstone for legal activism on immigration discrimination and other civil rights issues for the consistently attacked Latino community. Because of its activism MALDEF has been a frequent target of known hate groups such as "FAIR" and the "Minute Men."

Ironically the Trasvina pick was being discreetly vetted while a few Latino organizations and misinformed Latino conservative pundits loudly complained that a former MALDEF attorney, Tom Saenz, had not passed the now legendary complex selection process employed by Obama officials. Saenz was passed up for a top position at the Justice Department.

Additionally right wing groups thumped their chests as they took credit, apparently mistakenly, for "taking down" Saenz who, retrospectively, was not ultimately offered an appointed position because of reasons other than his past association with MALDEF. The Obama administration instead installed Tom Perez, another well known outspoken Latino advocate to lead the Civil Rights Division of DOJ, the position first thought to be targeted for Saenz.

The choice of Trasvina as Assistant HUD Secretary is sure to be seen as a victory by both the progressive and Latino communities. The appointment of Trasvina will also send a signal that HUD is returning as an aggressive advocate for increasing housing opportunities for all.

Trasvina is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School.