About The Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs

It is our mission to improve the lives of Seattle's immigrant and refugee residents.
Click here to see staff bios.

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

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs was established in 2012 by Seattle Ordinance 123822 with the recognition of the importance and need for a strong relationship between the City of Seattle government and the immigrant and refugee communities which it serves.

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 (New Citizen Campaign)
Cuc Vu - Director
Glenn Scott Davis - Ready to Work Program and Policy Specialist
Hassan Wardere - Community Relations Specialist
Joaquin Uy - Ethnic Media and Communications Manager
Katherine M.L. Cortes - Finance and Operations Manager
Linh Huynh - Staff Assistant
Maha Jahshan - Language Access Program and Policy Specialist
Meghan Kelly-Stallings - Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist (New Citizen Program)

 

Christina Guros
Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist
(New Citizen Campaign)

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.

 

Hassan Wardere, Community Relations Specialist

Hassan Wardere's headshot photo.Originally from Somalia, Hassan Wardere has dedicated his life to advocacy for immigrant and refugee rights. His family was resettled in Colorado, and they later moved to Washington state. Hassan is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and he has a passion for connecting with and learning from others. At OIRA, Hassan shares community outreach duties with Joaquin (see below). In addition, Hassan overseas the Immigrant Family Institute program, the expanded iteration of the award-winning Refugee Women's Institute. He has extensive experience in program management and community engagement. Hassan also enjoys volunteering in programs that focus on youth who have experienced the juvenile justice system. Hassan’s hero has always been his mother whose immeasurable love and courage continues to inspire and motivate him.

 

Joaquin Uy
Ethnic Media and Communications Manager

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 Manager, 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. And he shares community outreach responsibilities with Hassan (see above). 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.

 

Katherine M.L. Cortes
Finance and Operations Manager

Katherine M.L. Cortes was born in Tokyo to an American Foreign Service officer father and Vietnamese-born mother and grew up in France, Malaysia, Japan, and the Washington, D.C. area. Her father’s family traces its roots to England, Ireland, and the founder of Rhode Island (!), while her mother’s family largely resettled in California and Colorado after the fall of Saigon in the Vietnam War in 1975. Katherine comes to OIRA from King County, where she served as a senior analyst for the King County Council and previously in the King County Executive budget office. She has also worked locally in homelessness and housing policy. Prior to moving to Seattle in 2006, Katherine worked on criminal justice policy (including prisoner re-entry and mental health system overlaps) for the Council of State Governments in New York City, where she became an avid street hockey player. Katherine lives in North Seattle with her husband Erik and son Julian.

 

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.

 

Meghan Kelly-Stallings
Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist
(New Citizen Program)

Meghan Kelly-Stallings was born and raised in Massachusetts before moving to Seattle in 2003. Meghan coordinates the New Citizen Program, a City-funded consortium of community-based partner organizations that provides a wide range of citizenship assistance services. Meghan worked in immigration law as a paralegal and as an attorney for over a decade at several local immigration law firms and nonprofits, working primarily with detained populations and survivors of crime and trauma. She is a longtime volunteer with the Northwest immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and OneAmerica. Prior to joining OIRA, she worked as a project manager and policy business analyst for the Seattle Public Library. Meghan speaks Spanish and has lived in Spain and Bolivia. She loves to read, listen to podcasts, exercise, and spend time with her husband and son.

 

Banner photo credit: Nate Gowdy Photography.