Greetings! I am so proud to be serving as the director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA). The opportunity to serve as Director (technically “Acting Director” until I am officially confirmed by Council) and build upon OIRA’s legacy is a tremendous honor and responsibility. I also want to take this time to acknowledge the leadership of my predecessor Cuc Vu who helped navigate OIRA through an anti-immigrant federal administration, a global pandemic, and more. Today, the team is coming together to take a collective breath and to brainstorm our goals for these next few years. See below for more information on what we have been working on lately.
As I observe the Ramadan fast, I am personally taking this time to reflect on charity and my commitment to the community. And I am reminded of the importance of our responsibility to care for one another. As you may know, I came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia and have experienced the effects of governmental policy first-hand. Witnessing the impacts of decisions made by foreign governments strengthened my desire to gain expertise in the areas of organizational development, decision making, and public policy. I’m excited to bring my lived and professional experience as an immigrant rights advocate to the City of Seattle and OIRA. And I look forward to hopefully meeting you in-person in the community!
Current OIRA Updates…
Apply now! The Immigrant and Refugee Commission has openings for new volunteer commission members. Submit your application ASAP!
We are hiring! Help us ensure the City of Seattle serves all residents regardless of their English language fluency. (Due 4/19)
We are seeking applications from agencies with DOJ-certified staff that are interested in providing naturalization help. (Due 4/29)
Since February 24, OIRA has been working with the Mayor to assist Ukrainian American residents and community-based organizations on how to reunite with their overseas friends and family members impacted by the war in Ukraine, while also highlighting that Seattle has long been home to many refugees from countries all over the world. Seattle will continue to welcome immigrants fleeing war, violence, and terror. Learn more about our work.
You can join us in submitting a supportive comment on the current Public Charge rule.
In 2018, the City of Seattle submitted a public comment against Trump’s anti-immigrant Public Charge rule change. But now, we have come full circle and are planning to submit a public comment in support of the administration’s current rule that protects immigrant families’ access to essential safety net programs. We have additional recommendations to make this new rule more equitable. And you can also provide your own comments. The Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition has a number of ways for individuals and organizations to comment. Learn more about how to submit a comment.
2 Million by 2022!
We are proud to join with community-based organizations and local governments across the U.S. in supporting the campaign to Naturalize 2 million new Americans by the end of 2022. This national effort is coordinated by the National Partnership for New Americans and Cities for Citizenship. Learn more about the campaign.