Mayor Murray hires Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Director

Mayor Murray today announced Cuc Vu as his choice to lead the City’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA).

“I hope to establish Seattle as a leader in immigrant and refugee integration and create an environment that welcomes the participation and engagement of immigrants and refugees in all areas Seattle,” said Murray. “Cuc is the perfect choice to lead the office, as her experience on immigrant and refugee issues is bolstered by her passion for equity and equality, working for two decades on some of the most important civil rights issues of our time, including the rights of workers, women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

“I am honored and truly excited to join Mayor Murray and his team at City Hall, the most diverse cabinet I have ever seen in City government. I share the Mayor’s vision for immigrant and refugee integration in Seattle and commit to achieving real progress and equity for Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities,” said Vu.

In her new role as Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Vu brings her life experience as a refugee who knows the stigma of food stamps and the prestige of an Ivy League school, as well as 12 years of experience working on immigrant and refugee affairs as an advocate, issue organizer and non-profit founder and executive.

Vu most recently served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) where she provided the vision and strategy to help the organization fulfill its stated commitment to diversity and inclusion. She has also worked at SEIU, AFL-CIO and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“I am excited with the announcement of Cuc Vu as Director of the Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. She is an outstanding leader who will be a passionate and effective advocate,” said Eliseo Medina, labor union activist and leader, and advocate for immigration reform in the United States. “Thank you, Mayor Murray for your leadership and support.”

“I am delighted that Cuc Vu will be the next director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. I have known and worked with Cuc for over a decade, on the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, immigration reform and naturalization and voting for immigrants,” said Pramila Jayapal, OIRA director search committee member. “Cuc brings a wealth of leadership, strategy and policy skills that will serve the office well as it seeks to build a strong and innovative portfolio of programs to better serve Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities. It’s great to welcome her back to Seattle.”

“I want to extend my profound appreciation to Aaliyah Gupta for her work over the past six months, leading the office and developing a five-point plan that will guide Seattle’s work to strengthen immigrant and refugee communities,” said Murray.

Vu started on July 15 and will make $125,000 annually. This position requires confirmation by the Seattle City Council.

Seattle is home to refugees and immigrants from more than 112 countries. Over a third of Seattle residents are persons of color, and 19 percent are foreign born. Washington State is the eighth largest refugee resettlement state in the country.

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs facilitates the successful integration of immigrants and refugees into Seattle’s civic, economic, and cultural life; celebrates diverse cultures of immigrants and refugees and their contributions to Seattle; advocates on behalf of immigrants and refugees and promote a citywide culture that understands and values the benefits that all members of our society receive when immigrants and refugee communities are successfully integrated into our civic, economic and cultural life. For more information, visit