The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
In 2018, the City of Minneapolis established The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) with the goal of ensuring that Minneapolis is a safe and welcoming place for all. The OIRA office is housed within the Department of Neighborhood and Community Relations, and supports our One Minneapolis goal to “eliminate disparities so that all Minneapolis can participate and prosper." As NCR, OIRA will work with existing cultural engagement staff. Learn about how NCR engages the many cultural communities of Minneapolis.
Welcoming Week Celebration
The City of Minneapolis celebrated its second annual Welcoming Week celebration on September 21, 2018. Welcoming Week is an opportunity for communities to celebrate and learn about the valuable contributions of immigrants and refugees. Read more...
Applying for US Citizenship
Applying for naturalization, or US citizenship, is an important step for US permanent residents. US citizens have important rights, including the right to vote, to obtain a US passport, and to sponsor a relative for immigration benefits. There are many legal service organizations in the Twin Cities area that provide information and legal representation for those who are interested in learning more about how to apply for US citizenship. Please follow the links below for additional information on how to qualify for and obtain assistance in applying for US citizenship:
Citizenship Day Address
OIRA's principal responsibilities are to:
- Inform City leaders about federal immigration developments and advise on policy initiatives to support affected residents.
- Equip community members with information regarding immigration developments, positioning them to protect and defend their rights.
- Educate residents about existing resources to address immigration issues and other needs, whether through local government or through legal, social service or other nonprofit organizations.
The Office takes a proactive, coordinated, enterprise-wide approach to accomplish the following:
- Enhance the civic and social integration of immigrant and refugee communities.
- Promote economic development and ensure access to resources and programs within immigrant and refugee communities across Minneapolis.
- Collaborate with federal, state and local governing bodies, nonprofit organizations and community stakeholders on immigrant and refugee issues, programs and policies.
- Advocate for continued immigration reforms at all levels of government to eliminate inequities.
- Provide relevant, accurate information and education—including community resources—to residents regarding significant issues that impact immigrants and refugees.
- Ensure that Minneapolis remains a welcoming city for immigrants, refugees and existing residents.
Responsibilities of the Office include:
- Educate policy-makers, City departments and the public on the needs of immigrant and refugee communities, and represent the City in the public discourse around immigration with constructive messages.
- Analyze the impact of City programs and policies on immigrant and refugee communities, and recommend improvements.
- Lead a multi-departmental team to create programs and activities that strengthen the City’s immigrant and refugee communities.
- Manage referrals to community organizations that serve immigrants and refugees, providing information and contacts.
- Support the establishment of an Immigrant and Refugee Commission upon approval of City Council.
- Build strategic, meaningful relationships with stakeholders and the larger community to advocate on behalf of immigrant and refugee families.
- Coordinate work with the department’s community specialists concerning immigrant and refugee initiatives.
- Support the City’s membership and activities with local, regional, national and international networks, collaborations and organizations.
Meet Director Michelle Rivero
Michelle Rivero is the Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, housed within the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department. Michelle has been an immigration attorney for the last 18 years. Her work has included representing clients in immigration court proceedings (detained and nondetained), asylum applicants, crime victims seeking U visas, VAWA applicants (victims of domestic violence), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, applicants for US citizenship, as well as individuals petitioning for family members to come to or remain in the United States.
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. So far, NCR has engaged the community through:
East African Community Specialist Abdirashid hosting his Somali-language radio show.
- Conversations with the three funded community partners (Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, the Advocates for Human Rights and the Volunteer Lawyers Network).
- Workshops at the Community Connections Conference, an annual free event with 600-700 participants.
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|
Last updated Oct 11, 2018