SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County will welcome Lucero Chavez Basilio as its first director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Friday following national recruitment for the position, it was announced Thursday.
"It is an honor and privilege to work with the residents of San Diego and our partners throughout the county to build the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs," said Chavez Basilio, a bilingual Spanish speaker and attorney, who has spent more than 10 years representing immigrant and refugee children and families in immigration proceedings and in humanitarian and family-based petitions. "I look forward to creating and promoting programs and initiatives that are responsive to the needs of the community."
She has worked with city councils, community organizations, and law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California to create and implement pro-immigrant policies and programs.
"After years of advocacy from the community, I was proud to bring forward a proposal with Vice Chair [Nora] Vargas last year to create the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs," said Nathan Fletcher, chair of the County Board of Supervisors. "I am truly excited to welcome Ms. Chavez Basilio to head the office, I am confident that with her experience, passion, and leadership, we will continue to make San Diego County more welcoming for all residents."
The office is located within the county's Health and Human Services Agency's Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities -- headed by Barbara Jimenez.
"For the county and our communities, this is very exciting news," Jimenez said. "We are all eager for Ms. Chavez Basilio to join the team and engage the community, both in building out and leading this new office."
Chavez Basilio grew up in a working-class immigrant neighborhood in Southeast Los Angeles and is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. She holds a B.A. in American Literature and Culture and Chicana/o Studies from UCLA and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law. She also has taught Administrative Law at Western State College of Law and Immigration Law and Policy at the UC Irvine School of Law.
"This is an important day for the county of San Diego, one that acknowledges the rich and ongoing contributions, as well as the needs, of our region's immigrants and refugees," said Nick Macchione, director of the HHSA.
"Lucero Chavez Basilio brings a wealth of experience working with immigrant and refugee families and has the vision to lead the new office," said Vargas, vice chair of the County Board of Supervisors.
"I am thrilled she will lead the agency working in partnership with the community and elevating the positive contributions immigrants and refugees bring to our culture and economy in the bi-national region."
She starts her new position Friday.