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Council News Release

9/4/2012  3:00:00 PM
Jennifer Samuels, Bruce Harrells Office: 206-684-8804 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell

Seattle City Council unanimously confirms Magdaleno M. Rose-Avila 
First director of the City's new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

SeattleBy a vote of 9-0, the Seattle City Council today confirmed Magdaleno M. Rose-Avila, known as Leno, as Director of the City's new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The Council initiated the creation of this department in 2011 and has high hopes for its positive impact on Seattle's residents. 


"The creation of this new, inclusive office will improve how the City integrates new immigrants and refugees into the civic life of Seattle," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee.  "Leno will play a vital role in advocating for immigrants and refugees and help all residents benefit from the diversity of immigrant and refugee cultures."

Mr. Rose-Avila has worked directly with diverse immigrant and refugee communities for more than 25 years. Most recently, Rose-Avila served as Executive Director of the Social Justice Fund Northwest, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

"I am confident Magdaleno will lead the City in developing effective policies and practices to best serve immigrant and refugee communities. His extensive experience working for human rights and social justice will be a great asset to residents of Seattle," said Council President Sally J. Clark.

Mr. Rose Avila is passionate about advocating for human rights, particularly while having served on multiple boards, including Amnesty International Board of Directors and the City's Immigrant and Refugee Board. He is the recipient of many awards for his work in this field. In addition, Rose-Avila speaks and works on gang, immigration, and judicial reform issues through the Latino Community Fund of Washington's Latino Equity Initiative and is a mentor to at-risk youth.

"Seattle's immigrant population is incredibly diverse, but shares many common strengths and common struggles. Mr. Rose-Avila knows this population and his life experiences have prepared him well for his new position as the first director of the City's new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs," said Councilmember Tim Burgess. "Leno is a strong choice to direct our important work to help our immigrant neighbors achieve their dreams."

Mr. Rose-Avila will be an asset to the City Council, the Mayor and the new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

"I have been an admirer of Leno's past work helping immigrants and refugees for years.  I am very pleased to see him assume this new role," said Councilmember Jean Godden.

The Council is looking forward to working cooperatively with Rose-Avila to launch the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. This is an exciting opportunity for the City to tackle the challenges facing immigrants and refugees while improving the level of engagement City government has with these communities.

For more information on the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, click here.

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council's website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

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