José Raúl Perales is the Assistant Secretary (A/S) for the Private Sector within the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In this role, A/S Perales advises the Secretary on the impact of the Department's policies, regulations, and processes on private sector companies, universities, and not-for-profit institutions and enhances strategic communications in order to help the public and private sectors jointly meet their shared responsibility for homeland security.
Prior to joining DHS, A/S Perales served as the director of the Americas at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA). He oversaw AACCLA’s operations and several policy programs, including trade facilitation, regional integration, corporate sustainability, and institutional partnerships. In addition, he was responsible for broadening and strengthening the AACCLA network throughout the Caribbean and Latin American region.
Previously, A/S Perales was the senior associate at the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center, where he coordinated projects on the political economy of Latin American free trade agreements and conducted policy research and programs on economic development and politics in Central America, the Caribbean, MERCOSUR, and Cuba.
A/S Perales also served as trade policy adviser to the government of Puerto Rico, where he successfully created a strategy for advancing the island’s foreign trade interests and mediated government-private sector interaction on commercial affairs. He participated in negotiations for the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement Colombia, Panama, and Peru free trade agreements; the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); and other trade initiatives at the regional (Caribbean) and multilateral (World Trade Organization) levels. Among other responsibilities, he coordinated an interagency trade policy committee for the government of Puerto Rico and a bilateral trade and investment commission with the Dominican Republic. He was also involved in San Juan’s bid to host the secretariat of the FTAA.
From 2009- 2014 A/S Perales is an adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. He has published articles and edited volumes on economic regionalism, trade policy, international relations, and Latin American politics and development, in English and Spanish. He has been a visiting researcher at academic institutions in Argentina, Chile, France, and Uruguay.
A/S Perales graduated summa cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico (B.A.) and completed doctoral studies in political science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he resides in Alexandria, VA.