- City of Seattle
- Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Aaliyah Gupta (left), and Mayor Ed Murray (right) at City Hall today.
In a press conference late this morning, Murray announced that he's requested $409,238 in supplemental budget funds from the city council in order to double the size of the office, hiring two new full-time staffers and adding some consultant work. If the council approves the funding, this expansion will start in April.
He also announced a "five-point action plan" for the office, an outline of which is below. You can read a more detailed version on the mayor's website.
• Strengthen Seattle's language access policies and protocols
• Expand access to ESL programs
• Support for immigrant-owned small businesses
• Create neighborhood hubs to promote citizenship and naturalization
• Implement a Refugee Women's institute to build relationships between immigrant communities and SPD
It's a great move—as Murray noted in his speech, "one in five of Seattle residents are foreign-born," and Washington State is considered a "new-growth" state for having such rapid growth in our immigrant and refugee population over the last decade or so. This department deserves the funding and the attention.