He was born in the city of Fort Worth, Texas, of a Mexican father and a Texan mother.  He completed his undergraduate studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and received his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Texas Christian University. Juan Hernandez has dedicated himself to the study of Mexico-U.S. relations for many years. He  has been a professor at various universities, creating a Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas, Dallas. 

In 1996, Hernández invited Vicente Fox (then Governor of the Mexican State of Guanajuato) to speak at UT, Dallas and meet George W. Bush (then Governor of Texas) -- a historical meeting that marked a new outlook in Mexico-U.S. relations.

During this Texas trip, Fox asked Dr. Hernandez to  help  create “Guanajuato Trade Offices,” in the United States (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas-Fort Worth) and serve as his representative in the US. Soon, Fox invited Hernandez to be his “gate-keeper” and close confidant in his presidential campaign.

After beating the party that had ruled for over 71 years, President Fox hired Hernandez as the first US-born cabinet member, heading the President’s Office for Mexicans Abroad. Operating from Los Pinos (the Mexican White House), the Office had as its principal objective to serve and dignify the 2 million whom President Fox has called heroes -- the countrymen who live in foreign lands.

Described as one of the most brilliant men in the world (Fortune 2001), named Humanitarian Man of 2001 by Latin Trade Magazine (2001), and classified as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. (Hispanic Business Magazine 2001), he is known for his passion for the defense of the rights of immigrants. He has been showcased on Nightline, the Peter Jennings show, and is a regular on Univisión , CNN and Fox News.