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City of San Diego hires its first-ever Immigrant Affairs Manager

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Posted at 12:17 PM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-06 15:17:37-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The City of San Diego now has a person in charge of welcoming immigrants, refugees and new U.S. citizens to America’s Finest City.

Rite Fernandez was selected to be the city’s first-ever Immigrant Affairs Manager, a role that was created as part of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s “Welcoming San Diego Strategic Plan on Immigrant & Refugee Integration.”

According to the city, Fernandez’s role will include reviewing and guiding policies and helping in the integration of immigrants.

Fernandez, a Chula Vista native and University of San Diego graduate, previously served in the City of Los Angeles’ Immigrant Affairs Office. During her time in LA, Fernandez worked on immigration policy and coordinating programs for the city’s immigrant community.

Fernandez also has previous experience working in the Washington, D.C., office of San Diego-based Rep. Juan Vargas.

In a news release issued by the city, Fernandez said: “It is an incredible honor to have been selected to serve the City of San Diego as its first-ever Immigrant Affairs Manager. As a native of San Diego County and daughter of immigrants myself, I know this will be a humbling opportunity to support the region’s immigrant population. In the coming weeks, I look forward to speaking with community leaders and stakeholders about laying the groundwork for immigrant integration work in San Diego. I would like to thank Mayor Faulconer, Council President Gómez and the Welcoming San Diego steering committee for working together and releasing an ambitious strategic plan to welcome immigrant and refugee communities.”

“San Diego has long been a destination for people in search of opportunity, refugees looking to rebuild their lives, and new citizens who are proud to call America home. San Diego’s economy, workforce and future growth are connected to our ability to welcome new Americans into our community. That’s why creating this immigrant affairs role was so important, and Rita Fernandez will play a vital part in moving new initiatives forward aimed at helping these new San Diegans interact even more with our city,” Faulconer said.

The city provided the following statistics:

-- With more than 800,000 immigrants throughout the region, one in four San Diego County residents is an immigrant
-- In 2016 San Diego County immigrant households contributed $7.5 billion in federal taxes, $2.1 billion in state and local taxes, and leveraged $16.3 billion in spending power
-- Immigrant entrepreneurs generated $1.4 billion in business income for the region
-- The top five countries of origin for immigrants in San Diego County are China, Iraq, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam