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Introducing the newest member of the OIRA team: Shilpa Salgar

Shilpa Salgar, Special Projects and Policy Specialist

I am thrilled to join the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) team as the Special Projects and Policy Specialist. I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to immigrant parents from India. Shortly after I was born, our family relocated to Miami, Florida, where I spent most of my childhood. I spent thirteen years living in a melting pot of culture, cuisine, and traditions and spent time with others from all walks of life. When I was a teenager, my family moved to Washington State while my older brother went to college. 

After graduating from high school, I attended the University of Washington – Seattle, where I got my degree in Psychology and Law, Societies, and Justice. In college, I developed a deep interest in the issues surrounding immigrants and refugees in the United States, issues that my parents and extended family all experienced first-hand. I pursued opportunities that gave me a better insight into the intersection between immigrant and refugee rights and healthcare, workforce development, education, labor rights, and more. 

Before joining OIRA, I served as the Immigration Caseworker for U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. In this role, I collaborated with federal, state, and local departments and leaders to effectively implement initiatives and create solutions for immigrant and refugee populations. As the immigration caseworker, I helped numerous constituents effectively navigate their concerns with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State.

I have also worked within the court system through the prosecutor’s office and with juvenile justice programs in roles focused on empowering youth through strengthening community partnerships and helping to reduce recidivism. I have also served as a campaign manager for a nationally recognized race, where I have overseen the hiring and training of employees, managed budgets, and served as a community liaison. 

My time before OIRA helped me better understand our immigrant and refugee communities’ diverse challenges. At OIRA, my role includes shaping policy surrounding significant City of Seattle projects and mayoral priorities and assisting with outreach projects supporting immigrant and refugee communities.  Through my work, I hope to create better opportunities for our immigrant and refugee communities. I plan to center the needs of our diverse communities and help shape policy that empowers our immigrants and refugees for years to come.