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“Spring” Updates from the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA)

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Headshot of Hamdi Mohamed

Introducing Director Hamdi Mohamed!

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…

Immigrant and Refugee Commissioners testifying to Seattle City Council in the Council chambers.

Apply now! The Immigrant and Refugee Commission has openings for new volunteer commission members.
Submit your application ASAP!

Inside a classroom, a women wearing a red top with white polka-dots is holding a smiling baby wearing a brown outfit.

We are hiring! Help us ensure the City of Seattle serves all residents regardless of their English language fluency. (Due 4/19)

A multi-racial group of new Americans in a room taking the Oath of U.S. Citizenship.

We are seeking applications from agencies with DOJ-certified staff that are interested in providing naturalization help. (Due 4/29)

An Asian man wearing a blue shirt holding up a yellow sign that reads: "Assist."

We are now accepting May appointments for green card holders who need assistance applying for U.S. citizenship. To learn more, call: 206.393.2110.

In Case You Missed It…

Interior of Seattle City Hall with a very large Ukrainian flag hanging from the walkway.

How we are helping Ukrainian refugees.

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.

Seattle Relief Fund Report now available.

In December 2021, the City of Seattle in partnership with several nonprofit organizations has provided 5,257 individuals and 4,135 households with $16,179,000 in direct cash assistance through its Seattle Relief Fund. Additionally, the Seattle Disaster Relief Fund for Immigrants disbursed $5,807,000 to 744 immigrant/refugee individuals and 1,676 immigrant/refugee households. You can read the final report on both the Seattle Relief Fund and the Seattle Disaster Relief Fund for Immigrants here.