About Us

A group shot of the I-R Commission.

The Immigrant and Refugee Commission was created as a result of Seattle's Immigrant and Refugee Report and Action Plan released in 2007. 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. The Immigrant and Refugee Commission will help the city reach its goals. Learn more about the commission below.

You can follow the commission on Facebook at: facebook.com/IandRCommission.

Duties of the Commission

  • 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.
  • Encouraging dialogue and understanding between and among the various immigrant and refugee communities and the larger Seattle community and advocating on their behalf.
  • Helping to provide outreach and community feedback to the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

Commission Membership and Terms

Reflecting the diversity of Seattle's immigrant and refugee communities, the commission has 15 members (eight appointed by the Mayor and seven appointed by the City Council). Commission members will be appointed to one- or two-year terms, with the option of reappointment.

General Role of City of Seattle Commissions

City of Seattle 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.

A Brief History of the Commission

Resolution 30796 establishes the "community advisory task force to advise the City on issues facing Seattle's growing immigrant and refugee population."

Ordinance 122441 officially establishes the "City Immigrant and Refugee Advisory Board" based on the action plan authored by the community advisory task force. The 2007-2009 Immigrant and Refugee Report and Action Plan was a significant first step in creating the commission from the advisory board.

Ordinance 123822 renames the advisory board as the "Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Commission."

Learn More About the Commission

Find out who is currently serving on the commission.

Read the Immigrant and Refugee Report and Action Plan that called for the establishment of an Immigrant and Refugee Commission.

Read the Immigrant and Refugee Commission 2014 Annual Report.


The City of Seattle staff liaison to the Immigrant and Refugee Commission is Luanda Arai. She can be reached at (206) 561-7114 or luanda.arai@seattle.gov.