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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Immigrant and Refugee Commission seeks new Members

3/19/2012  5:00:00 PM
Ronald Ramp (206)684-0390
Roberto Bonaccorso  (206) 684-5282

Immigrant and Refugee Commission seeks new Members

With the unprecedented growth in the foreign-born population since the 1980s, Seattle has become an increasingly multi-cultural city, rich with diversity. In keeping with the Race and Social Justice Initiative, the Mayor and City Council want to ensure that city government provides high-quality customer service to all, including immigrants and refugees living and working in Seattle. To this end the Immigrant and Refugee Commission was created in 2008 and the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs was established in January 2012.  The Immigrant and Refugee Commission will help the city reach its goals.
The duties of the Immigrant and Refugee Commission include:

  • Advising the Mayor, City Council and city departments and offices on ways to enhance and improve access to city services and resources for immigrants and refugees, as well as strengthening opportunities for immigrants and refugees to participate in civic life;
  • Advising the city on the successful implementation of the Immigrant and Refugee Action Plan and on future updates to the plan;
  • Advising all city departments and offices in matters affecting immigrants and refugees, as appropriate; and
  • Encouraging understanding between and among the various immigrant and refugee communities and the larger Seattle community.
  • Advocating on behalf of immigrant and refugees in the larger Seattle Community
  • Assisting in the direction of the newly created Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

The Board has fifteen members reflecting the diversity of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities. Board members will be appointed to two-year terms, with the option of reappointment for two more terms.

Board members are expected to devote at minimum10 hours per month to Commission work, including monthly Commission meetings and being an active member of at least one Committee.  For more information, see the Board website.

The Immigrant and Refugee Commission was established by Ordinance 122441.  Please send your resume, cover letter and a short bio about yourself to Ronald Ramp at and if you have any questions call him at 206-684-0390.

The Role of a Commission

Commissions serve as a link between the public and City government. The information and advice that Commissions provide about community needs, concerns, and opinions can have a profound impact on City policies and lead to improved services for all residents. Commissions are expected to:

  • Gather community opinions, attitudes, and needs and synthesize them for departments, City Council, or the Mayor
  • Study programs and services, and analyze problems and needs
  • Offer written recommendations for changes to programs, policies, or standards
  • Provide the public with information about city policies, programs, and budgets

Commissions are most effective when they engage members of the public, outside experts, and individuals within City government to develop timely, relevant, well-researched, thoughtfully analyzed recommendations and reports on issues of importance.

Advisory Function

The five SOCR Commissions serve in an advisory capacity to the Mayor, the City Council, and City departments. Commissions recommend solutions, but do not have final decision-making authority to set governmental policy. When presenting recommendations to the Mayor, the Seattle City Council, or to a City department, keep the following essential points in mind:

  • Provide recommendations in writing
  • Express your ideas clearly and succinctly
  • Propose solutions that are viable and cost effective
  • Explain the reasons for the suggested changes
  • Ensure that your advice has been approved by the full commission
  • Ensure that your recommendations do not inadvertently conflict with current laws

As independent advisory bodies, commissions sometimes take positions contrary to that of the Mayor, the Seattle City Council, or a particular City department. When this arises, notify your SOCR Liaison, SOCR Manager of Policy & Outreach, or SOCR Director prior to making a public statement. This will give the commission and the governmental policy-makers an opportunity to discuss the issue before releasing information to the public.


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Immigrant and Refugee Commission

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