Neighborhood & Community Relations

Crown Roller Mill, Suite 425
105 Fifth Avenue South 
Minneapolis, MN 55401
[email protected]


The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs 

The City of Minneapolis is establishing The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, an exciting and vital resource to ensure that Minneapolis is a safe and welcoming place for all. The Office, housed in the department of Neighborhood and Community Relations, will support our One Minneapolis goal to “eliminate disparities so that all Minneapolis can participate and prosper." The Office is anticipated to begin operations in the summer of 2018.

Our Welcoming City

The City of Minneapolis recently joined Welcoming America, a network of cities and counties that foster an inclusive community and believe that, when everyone feels like they belong, communities prosper. Welcoming Cities believe that all people, including immigrants, are valuable contributors to society, vital to the success of our communities and to our shared future. 

Explore resources related to immigration on the City's #WeAreMpls page.

Director of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs begins work July 9

Michelle Cecilia Rivero is joining the City as director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs on Monday, July 9. Ms. Rivero, an attorney, brings more than 18 years of immigration law experience to the office, including work in cases ranging from U visa and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) petitions to asylum applications and removal hearings.

“Minneapolis has been – and will continue to be – a city that welcomes everyone,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “From our separation ordinance protecting immigrants to U-visas to ‘Know-Your-ICE-Rights’ placards in MPD cars, we are standing with our immigrant communities. After her experience with U visas and DACA petitions and the years of award-winning litigation under her belt, Michelle Rivero will help make Minneapolis a better city for everyone who calls it home.”

“I’m excited that NCR has brought on a director for the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs,” said Council Member Abdi Warsame. “I have high expectations for this office and believe it can be a powerful City ally to our immigrant community. Immigrants are vital to the fabric and vibrancy of Minneapolis and we need to use the resources at our disposal to support them and their contributions to Minneapolis.”

Along with her immigration law experience, Rivero has received recognitions from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (ALIA) and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota for her pro bono representation of Central American families at the detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, which the association described as a “deportation mill” where detainees were deprived of phone access and legal representation. She volunteered at the Advocates for Human Rights, representing asylum seekers and mentoring volunteer attorneys. Also, for six years, she served as a liaison to the immigration court system, observed the conditions at removal hearings, authored articles defending the rights of immigrants, connected immigration attorneys with congressional representatives and provided pro bono assistance to detainees for the Minnesota Detention Project.

Mexica dance performers at the 2018 Mayoral and City Council InaugurationHmong artist performs blessing at the 2018 Mayoral and City Council InaugurationCommunity Connections Conference Workshop on Defending Immigrants and Refugees
Mexica Dancers at 2018 Mayor & Council Inauguration Hmong Blessing from
Community Connections Conference 2018 Workshop
on Immigrants and Refugees

Small Version March Photo Woman and Child with Flag by City Hall


The Office will take a proactive, coordinated, enterprise-wide approach to accomplish the following:

Responsibilities of the Office include:

Community Engagement and Research 

The Office has already begun a community engagement process, interviewing stakeholders and convening community round tables to build awareness and inform the work of the office. The information we gather as we continue this process will be used to finalize our scope of work. In the meantime, the NCR department will lead on the ongoing immigration work for the City, including on topics relating to municipal ID and DACA. So far, NCR has engaged the community through:

Abdirashid Ahmed, NCR’s East African Specialist, hosting his monthly Somali-language radio show


East African Community Specialist Abdirashid hosting his Somali-language radio show.

What we heard from you:

Through the community engagement that NCR has carried out so far, we asked you what the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs should focus on. These themes have emerged in the conversation.

•   Policy   •   Communications•   Economic advancement
•   Strategy   •   Promotion of values•   Citizenship
•   Advocacy   •   Cultural work and healing•   Housing

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact David Rubedor, Director of Neighborhood and Community Relations and ADA Title II Coordinator at [email protected].

Last updated Jun 20, 2018



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