About Us

Please Note

Because OIRA staff members are working in the office and from at home, we are unable to guarantee that someone will be in the office if you drop in. For all inquiries, we recommend that you first call (206) 727-8515 or email oira@seattle.gov.



PRIVACY ALERT: Any personal information that you send to us through electronic communications (email, text message, social media messenger) can be made available to the public.

ALERTA: Debido a las leyes locales, cualquier información personal que nos envíe a través de comunicaciones electrónicas (correo electrónico, mensaje de texto, mensajería en redes sociales) puede ponerse a disposición del público. Por favor considere llamarnos por telefono.

ALERT: Vì luật pháp địa phương, bất kỳ thông tin cá nhân nào bạn gửi cho chúng tôi thông qua liên lạc điện tử (email, tin nhắn văn bản, tin nhắn truyền thông xã hội) có thể được cung cấp cho công chúng. Hãy xem xét việc gọi  cho chúng tôi. Xin vui lòng  xem xét việc gọi điện cho chúng tôi.

警告:根據當地法律,您通過電子通信(電子郵件,短信,社交媒體信使)發送給我們的任何個人信息都可以向公眾開放。 請考慮打電話給我們。

경고: 현 지방법에 따라 전자통신 (이메일, 문자 메세지, 소셜 미디어 메신저)을 통해 당사에 전송한 개인 정보는 공개될수 있습니다.  그러므로 직접 전화 통화 하는 방법도 고려해보십시요.

DIGNIIN: sharciga awgiis, wixii macluumaad shakhsi ah oo aad noogu soo dirto annaga oo adeegsanaya isgaarsiinta elektiroonigga ah (emayl, farriin qoraal ah, farriinta warbaahinta bulshada) ayaa loo heli karaa dadweynaha. Fadlan ka fikir inaad na soo wacdid.

ማስጠንቀቂያ: በአከባቢ ህጎች ምክንያት በኤሌክትሮኒክ ግንኙነቶች (ኢሜል ፣ የጽሑፍ መልእክት ፣ በማኅበራዊ ሚዲያ መልእክተኛ) በኩል ለእኛ የላኩልን ማንኛውም የግል መረጃ ለሕዝብ መቅረብ ይችላል ፡፡ እባክዎ መደወልዎን ያስቡበት።



The mission of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) is to improve the lives of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities through policies, programs, services, and community engagement.

Seattle is a Welcoming City. We value inclusion and equity. City employees do not ask about citizenship status and serve all residents regardless of immigration status.

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs was established in 2012 by Seattle Ordinance 123822 with the recognition of the importance and need for a stronger relationship and increased accountability between the City of Seattle government and immigrant and refugee communities.



Click on a name to jump to their bio.

Alessandra (Alex) Roque
Annie Dimitras
Alma Dea Michelena
Beleqsa Tamaami
Hamdi Mohamed
Javiera Wood
Linh Huynh (Linh Huỳnh)
Oksana Bilobran (Оксана Білобран)
Peggy Liao (廖思穎)
Rodha Sheikh
Shilpa Salgar
Venecia Rodriguez


Alessandra (Alex) Roque
External Affairs Intern

Headshot of Alex (Alessandra) Roque, External Affairs InternAlex was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and immigrated to Seattle in 2019. She received her associate degree from Seattle Central College in 2022 and is now working toward a B.A. in Law, Societies, and Justice at the University of Washington. As the External Affairs Intern, Alex supports OIRA’s Ethnic Media Program, outreach and engagement programs, and research efforts. She also provides general administrative and project support as needed. Before joining OIRA, she served as a core youth leader at immigrant justice organization OneAmerica. There her work focused on the 2021 Language Access Campaign, where she co-led a research committee whose work was essential to the passing of HB1153, which expanded language access in K-12 schools in Washington State. Alex was previously an intern at the Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray, where she provided constituent services, supported grant work, and conducted research for other staff members.

Her life and work experiences have guided her passion for improving the day-to-day experiences of immigrant and refugee communities and for building genuine, intentional relationships with residents. In her free time, Alex likes to read, watch anime, and try out new restaurants and coffee shops. She also considers herself a “baby audiophile” and frequently tests audio equipment with her loved ones.


Annie Dimitras
Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist (New Citizen Program)

Headshot of Annie Dimitras, New Citizen Program (NCP) and Policy Specialist

Annie Dimitras (she/her) has a background in immigration, human rights, and public service. She has spent years working directly with refugee and immigrant communities in King County in various capacities. Annie most recently served as the Immigration Program Supervisor at Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), where she provided legal representation to low-income clients as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. She has also served on the Seattle Human Rights Commission and has been a long-time volunteer with Seattle-area citizenship clinics.

Annie holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and International Studies from the University of California-San Diego as well as an M.A. in Human Rights and Democratization from the Global Campus of Human Rights based in Italy. When not working on immigration, Annie can be found gardening, visiting local bakeries, and spending time by the water.

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Alma Dea Michelena
Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist

Headshot of Alma Dea Michelena, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist

Alma Dea Michelena (she/her) is a Seattle transplant whose family emigrated from the Philippines to Chicago; the youngest of nine, her family is her foundation. She holds a Masters in Social Work as well as a Certificate in International Development from the University of Washington. She has worked in local nonprofits serving Seattle youth and families, from being a service provider, program manager to grant writer in areas across leadership development, community building to homelessness. After the birth of her daughter, she helped establish a local nonprofit of peer support and community building for families of color.

As the Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist at OIRA, she supports the various program managers through developing contracts and in tracking program progress and spending. She is always looking for ways to make processes more streamlined, systems more equitable, evaluation realistic and less burdensome, and society more just. In her free time, she is walking in the forest with her family and dogs, reading a book, cooking, or painting.


Beleqsa Tamaami
Community Outreach and Resource Navigator

Headshot of Beleqsa Tamaami, Community Outreach and Resource NavigatorBeleqsa Tamaami (she/her) is the daughter of Somali-Oromo refugees and immigrated to Seattle with her parents when she was two. She is passionate about racial, economic, social, and political justice for marginalized communities. She majored in Global Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma and studied abroad in China, Morocco, and Jordan where her experiences as a first-generation Black student propelled her commitment to equity and education access for communities of color. This commitment led her to pursue a Masters Degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University. Upon graduating, she worked at Green River College as a Basic Skills Navigator, providing direct service support for immigrant and refugee students and their families.

Beleqsa is passionate about the wellbeing of immigrants and refugees and spent the last 8 years working in various capacities to advocate and support marginalized communities. Beleqsa speaks both Somali and Oromo and is excited to work alongside community members as OIRA’s Community Outreach and Resource Navigator. In her free time she loves watching K-dramas, exploring new halal food spots, and spending time with her family.


Hamdi Mohamed

Headshot of Hamdi Mohamed, DirectorHamdi Mohamed is a civil servant with more than a decade of experience serving immigrant and refugee communities. Hamdi most recently served as Policy Advisor to King County, where she managed initiatives directing funds and investments in small businesses, community organizations, and COVID-19 responses. Before working for King County, she served as the Deputy District Director for U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. Hamdi has also worked for CARE International and the Refugee Women Alliance (ReWA) in roles dedicated to fighting poverty and empowering immigrants.

Hamdi has a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, Societies, and Justice and a Master’s Degree in Policy Studies, bothfrom the University of Washington. She has also earned a Global Business Certificate from Harvard Business School. In 2021, Hamdi won a historic race, becoming the first Black woman elected to the Port of Seattle Commission and the first Somali woman elected in office in Washington state.


Javiera Wood
Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist (New Citizen Campaign)

Headshot of Joaquin Uy, External Affairs Manager and Policy AdvisorJaviera is an immigration attorney with experience in humanitarian relief and removal defense. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile and then immigrated with her family to Oregon in 2010. She currently serves as a Citizenship Program and Policy Specialist, managing the New Citizen Campaign to provide naturalization services to Seattle residents. Javiera has a B.A in International Studies and Chinese from the University of Oregon, and a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law. After law school, she was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) to address the legal and social needs of unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in Eastern Washington. In her free time, Javiera enjoys spending time with her two cats, decorating her home, eating Korean BBQ, and traveling with friends.

Linh Huynh (Linh Huỳnh)
Administrative Assistant

Headshot of Linh Huynh, Administrative AssistantLinh Huynh came to Seattle with her family as a Vietnam War refugee in September of 1979. Linh supports OIRA staff in ensuring the office lives up to its mission of improving the lives of Seattle's immigrants and refugees. Prior to joining OIRA, Linh worked for Seattle City Council for nearly 10 years as an Administrative Specialist. She has experience helping immigrant and refugee families on issues of domestic violence, orphans, and young people. In Linh's free time, she and her mom go grocery shopping or just hang out at an eatery and cherish the time they have with each other. She is also a proud mom of two sons.

Oksana Bilobran (Оксана Білобран)
Legal Programs Manager and Policy Advisor

Headshot of Oksana Bilobran, Legal Defense Program and Policy SpecialistOksana (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Ukraine. After receiving her first law degree there, she worked in the area of international environmental law focused on climate change, public participation, and access to environmental information and justice. Oksana moved to the U.S. in 2004, then graduated from the University of Washington School of Law and started practicing immigration law in 2007. Prior to joining OIRA, Oksana has worked at three local nonprofit organizations, where she oversaw legal immigration programs and provided direct representation for people seeking to become U.S. citizens, to adjust status, to obtain DACA status, or to file family-based petitions. Oksana played a leadership role in the immigrant rights community with a wide scope of legal work, including organizing Know Your Rights workshops, facilitating immigration law clinics, and providing consultations to asylum seekers at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. During Oksana's free time, she is raising three children with her husband and enjoys traveling, hiking, visual and performance arts, and poetry.


Peggy Liao (廖思穎)
Language Access Program and Policy Specialist

Headshot of Peggy Liao, Language Access Program and Policy SpecialistPeggy (she/her) grew up in Taiwan and immigrated to the U.S. in 2014 and has lived both in Baltimore and Seattle. She holds a B.A. in business administration and an M.A. in social design. Before coming to the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, she worked for an international shoe company, a foundation for historic preservation, a social service organization, and a communications agency. As a Language Access Program and Policy Specialist, she is committed to supporting every City department in their provision of linguistically-appropriate and culturally-relevant information for all Seattle residents. When it’s sunny out, she enjoys biking around Lake Washington with her husband, Jonathan. When it isn’t, she enjoys a glass of good cider and cuddling with her two cats, Mante and Miel.


Rodha Sheikh
Finance and Operations Manager

Headshot of Rodha Sheikh, Contracts and Policy Development ManagerRodha Sheikh was born and raised in the United Arab Emirates to Somali American parents. During high school, she moved to the United States where she attended Highline High School in Burien, Washington. Rodha first joined the City of Seattle as a fiscal and policy analyst at the City Budget Office, where she managed the budgets of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Office of Arts and Culture, and Seattle Center. Prior to that, Rodha worked at a think tank in Washington, D.C. where she analyzed federal Medicare, social security, and criminal legal policies. She has spent the last six years focusing on equity and access in various spaces. Rodha has led an outreach course at the University of Washington that made STEM fields more accessible to a local underfunded school. She also worked with the Highline School District in developing a Somali dual language curriculum. Rodha holds a degree in law, societies, and justice from the University of Washington. And in her free time, she rates boba spots across the city in an effort to find the best boba in town.


Shilpa Salgar
Special Projects and Policy Specialist

Headshot of Shilpa Salgar, Special Projects and Policy SpecialistShilpa Salgar (she/her) is a second-generation immigrant born to immigrant parents who arrived from India. She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in psychology and law, societies and justice. As the Special Projects and Policy Specialist, Shilpa helps shape policy surrounding significant City projects and mayoral priorities. Her position in the City also includes assisting with outreach projects supporting immigrant and refugee communities. Before joining OIRA, Shilpa served as the Immigration Caseworker for U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. In this role, she collaborated with federal, state, and local departments and leaders to effectively implement initiatives and create solutions for immigrant and refugee populations. As the immigration caseworker, Shilpa helped numerous constituents effectively navigate their concerns with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State and helped constituents impacted by the Afghanistan and Ukraine crises. Shilpa has also served as a campaign manager for a nationally recognized race. She has served in positions where she has overseen the hiring and training of employees, managed budgets, and served as a community liaison.


Venecia Rodriguez
Language Services Coordinator

Headshot of Venecia Rodriquez, Language Services Coordinator

Venecia (veh-neh-syah) Rodriguez (she/her/ella) was born from immigrant and refugee parents from Mexico and Nicaragua. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Venecia and her family moved to Seattle, Washington in 2005. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Spanish Language and Literacy and minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Venecia has extensive background in teaching English to immigrant adults and youth through different community organizations. Before joining OIRA, she worked as a Localization Program Manager and Spanish translator for a technology and e-commerce company. She has extensive experience in program management, process improvements, training, and design. As the Language Services Coordinator, Venecia supports the translation requests from City departments, manages the community translator group, and oversees the operations under the Language Access program. In her spare time, she enjoys learning new crafts, spending time with her family and trying new foods.


Banner photo credit: Alabastro Photography.

Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Hamdi Mohamed, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 1616, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94573, Seattle, WA, 98124
Phone: (206) 727-8515

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The mission of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs is to improve the lives of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities by engaging them in decisions about the City of Seattle’s future and improving the City’s programs and services to meet the needs of all constituents.