President Barack Obama has lost an influential Hispanic voice in his administration with the resignation of Luis Miranda, White House director of Hispanic media, who is returning to the private sector.

The 36-year-old Miranda was selected by Obama for the post in February 2009 after being one of the most visible faces in the Democratic National Committee during the 2008 election cycle.

Miranda officially left his position last Friday at a time when the White House is sharpening its strategy to get Congress to approve comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Obama promised that reform during the 2008 election campaign and Miranda to date has been the main contact person for immigration matters.

The White House still has not named a replacement.

From his post in the White House, Miranda continued the work of moving Obama closer to Latinos who, more than 54 million strong, are the largest and fastest-growing minority in the United States.

Before his job with the DNC, Miranda worked on the John Kerry and Al Gore presidential campaigns and with the Service Employees International Union's Florida State Council.

The Colombian-born Miranda confirmed to Efe that he had decided to return to the private sector as a consultant on communications matters in Washington, although he offered no further details.

Among Miranda's achievements are the first bilingual press conference at the White House and increasing contacts between top-level officials in the Obama administration and the main Spanish-language media outlets.

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