About The Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs

It is our mission to improve the lives of Seattle's immigrant and refugee residents.

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs was created to recognize the importance and need for a strong relationship between the City of Seattle government and the immigrant and refugee communities which it serves. The Office's goal will be to set measurable outcomes to ensure a consistent implementation of principles of social justice issues which include employment, economic development, public health, student achievement, citizenship, public safety, criminal justice, civic engagement, and protection of civil rights.

Our 2015 Annual Report is coming soon. Until then, you can read about some of our accomplishments in our 2014 Annual Report.

Download a flyer about the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. (Right-click, then select, "Save link as..." and save to your computer.)

Graphic showing how OIRA achieves its mission.

 

STAFF

Click on a name below to jump to their bio.

Christina Guros, Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist
Cuc Vu, Director
Glenn Scott Davis, Program and Policy Specialist
Joaquin Uy, Ethnic Media and Communications Specialist
Linh Huynh, Staff Assistant
Maha Jahshan, Language Access Program and Policy Specialist
Mette Brogden, Deputy Director
Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Community Relations
Nhi Tran, New Citizen Program Specialist

 

 

Christina Guros, Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist

Christina was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and has spent time living in California and New York. Christina heads the New Citizen Campaign, providing outreach, education, and services, such as large-scale citizenship application assistance workshops, to build a network of stakeholders working to increase the number of Seattle residents who choose to naturalize. She began working in immigration during college by leading service trips to the U.S.-Mexico border. Before OIRA, Christina worked in immigrant and refugee integration and legal services in New York City, at the Legal Aid Society as a BIA-accredited representative and at International Rescue Committee doing national program management. She most recently worked at Amazon in the company’s tuition assistance program. Christina speaks Spanish and enjoys running, salsa dancing and exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

 

Cuc Vu, Director

Cuc Vu, Director
Cuc Vu came to the United States with her family in 1975 as a Vietnam War refugee. As Director, Cuc is tasked to ensure OIRA follows through with its stated mission of improving the lives of Seattle's immigrant and refugee residents and that Seattle continues to be a leading CIty for immigrant integration. Cuc has over 12 years of experience working on immigrant and refugee issues as an advocate, organizer, and nonprofit founder and executive.
As Immigration Campaign Manager for SEIU (Service Employees International Union), Cuc helped the organization earn its reputation as the most effective union on comprehensive immigration reform. Cuc also co-founded Mi Familia Vota and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, both national organizations dedicated to improving Latino immigrant civic engagement.

Cuc most recently served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for the Human Rights Campaign, where she helped the organization fulfill its stated commitment to diversity and inclusion by providing transformative leadership training and by creating new engagement programs. Cuc has also worked at the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Department of Labor to advance working women's issues. She has served on several boards, including the National Immigration Forum, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. As a soccer fanatic, she has played competitive soccer since she was 8 years old.

 

Glenn Scott Davis, Program and Policy Specialist

Glenn Davis
Glenn Scott Davis was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut and has lived in Seattle since 2010. Glenn oversees the Ready to Work Program, as well as assists departments in building equitable career and education pathways for immigrants and refugees. Throughout his life, Glenn has been deeply involved in the labor movement working for workplace and economic rights. In his past work, he has helped to expand educational and employment opportunities for immigrants and refugees, communities of color, and working people. Glenn has co-authored several publications including A Handbook for Adult Learning: Educational Philosophy & Program Standards; Washington State SEIU 775 Long-Term Care Training, Support & Career Development Network: A Blue Print for the Future; and Sustaining Worker Voice and Quality Care: A New Model of Transformative Learning in Nursing Homes. He was supervising editor of the textbook Gerontology, the Theory and Practice of Person-Centered Care widely used in New York City’s long-term care sector.

 

Joaquin Uy, Ethnic Media and Communications Specialist

Joaquin Uy's headshot.
Born in Manila, Philippines, Joaquin Uy moved to the U.S. with his parents in the early 80s to leave behind the Marcos dictatorship.
As the Ethnic Media and Communications Specialist, he helps ensure that all City departments include ethnic media in their inclusive outreach plans. He also provides technical assistance across the City on how to utilize ethnic media in reaching specific immigrant and refugee communities. His position in the city also includes advocating for immigrant and refugee communities regarding policy decisions and long-term planning. He has spent a combined 16 years in community engagement, communications, and fundraising/development. Previously, he has served as the News and Public Affairs Director at Community Radio KBCS 91.3 FM and Communications Specialist for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. He is one of the founding members of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the grassroots Filipino American youth network Anakbayan Seattle. He is also a frequent karaoke singer.

 

Linh Huynh, Staff Assistant

Linh Huynh
Linh Huynh came to Seattle with her family as a Vietnam War refugee in September of 1979. Linh supports OIRA staff in ensuring the office lives up to its mission of improving the lives of Seattle's immigrants and refugees. Prior to joining OIRA, Linh worked for Seattle City Council for nearly 10 years as an Administrative Specialist. She has experience helping immigrant and refugee families on issues of domestic violence, orphans, and young people. In Linh's free time, she and her mom go grocery shopping or just hang out at an eatery and cherish the time they have with each other. She is also a proud mom of two sons.

 

Maha Jahshan, Language Access Program and Policy Specialist

Maya Johnson
Growing up in Kuwait and of Egyptian-Palestinian descent, Maha Jahshan and her family sought political asylum in the U.S. during the first Gulf War. Maha is charged with instituting language access best practices across City departments, so that anyone can access City services no matter what language they speak. She has vast experience in working on complex policy issues with immigrant and refugee communities and federal, state, and local policy-making expertise. In addition, she has worked extensively with various communities by providing organizing, counseling, and tutoring opportunities. Maha is fluent in Arabic and has conducted research in the Middle East. Prior to joining OIRA, she was the Senior Program Manager at OneAmerica, where she developed and implemented the vision for an award-winning innovative youth leadership program. She also served on the City of Seattle Women's Commission and taught at the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Middlebury College.

 

Mette Brogden, Deputy Director

Mette Brogden was born and raised in Iowa and has also lived in Tucson, New Orleans, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Madison, and Colorado Springs. She has helped resettle refugees in the U.S since 2003. She is a cultural and medical anthropologist who comes to OIRA after five years serving as the State Refugee Coordinator in Wisconsin. Previously, Mette directed a local resettlement program in Tucson; helped Somali Bantu refugees in Tucson, San Antonio, and Houston to organize and provide self-help services within their communities; and worked closely with two national resettlement agencies, serving as a consultant to the HIAS national technical assistance program for refugee family strengthening programs in across the U.S., and later directing program evaluation at LIRS. After seeing Somali Bantu refugees struggle with language acquisition in traditional ESL classrooms, she wrote an intensive beginning oral ESL curriculum designed to assist refugees from oral cultures tap into their advanced oral language-learning skills in order learn English quickly, and then completed a companion reading and writing curriculum to help them acquire literacy.

Prior to working with refugees, Mette served as the Program Manager for the Environmental and Public Policy Conflict Resolution Program at the University of Arizona Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, convening and facilitating multi-stakeholder policy-development projects addressing highly contested environmental problems and issues. She also provided training in multi-stakeholder conflict resolution. She loves small business development, writing, visual and performing arts, plants and animals, rainy weather, forests and oceans, and Nia dancing.

 

Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Community Relations

Mohamed Sheikh Hassan
Mohamed Sheikh Hassan and his family came to Seattle as refugees from Somalia in 1994. Mohamed helps OIRA with outreach to Seattle's immigrant and refugee community. Conversely, he also helps advocate for immigrant and refugee issues across the City. Mohamed has extensive experience working with public and private sectors. Before OIRA, he worked with TRAC Associates as a Community Jobs Program Coordinator. Mohamed has also served as Vice Chair of the Tri-county Refugee Planning Committee, member of the Seattle 2010 Census Complete Count Committee, member of Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee, member of the OneAmerica Board, and United Way of King County Children's Leadership Council. Mohamed speaks Somali, Arabic, Swahili, and even a little Italian.

 

Nhi Tran, New Citizen Program Specialist

Nhi Tran
Nhi Tran was born in Đồng Nai, Vietnam and immigrated with her family to Washington in 1996 through the Humanitarian Operation Program. Nhi manages the New Citizen Program and supports other naturalization-related initiatives at OIRA. Prior to joining the City of Seattle, Nhi’s public service experience included areas of domestic violence, early learning, public safety, community-building, and digital literacy serving vulnerable communities. She deeply shares OIRA’s commitment to ensuring Seattle is welcoming, supportive, and inclusive to people from all walks of life. Nhi is fluent in Vietnamese. She is one of the founding members of Xin Chao Seattle Magazine, Our Sông Vietnamese-American Oral History Project, and Cherry Blossom Sangha. Nhi also currently serves as Board Advisor to Viet Nam Scholarship Foundation. In her spare time, she enjoys karaoke-ing, dancing, staycationing, and spending time with her family and two dogs – Goku and Plato – in Olympia.

Banner photo credit: Nate Gowdy Photography.